Stanley Dural Jr. performs as Buckwheat Zydeco during the 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. (ALEX BRANDON/AP)

Under the stage name of Buckwheat Zydeco, Stanley Dural Jr. played a major part in making zydeco, the stomping swamp music of Louisiana, a worldwide phenomenon. Mr. Dural, who won a Grammy Award and was the country’s best-known zydeco musician, died Sept. 24 at a hospital in Lafayette, La. He was 68.

His manager, Ted Fox, announced his death, saying the cause was lung cancer.

Mr. Dural grew up in southwestern Louisiana, absorbing the vibrant, accordion-based folk music that was part of his Creole heritage. His father played the accordion at home, but for years the younger Mr. Dural refused to play the squeezebox because he considered it old-fashioned.

“I didn’t like no accordion at all,” he said in 2009. “I’d go two miles around it when it was sittin’ right there in the livin’ room.”

Instead, he played the piano and organ and for several years in the 1970s led a 15-piece rhythm-and-blues band, Buckwheat and the Hitchhikers. One night in 1977, he sat in with his father’s best friend, Clifton Chenier, known as the King of Zydeco. From then on, Mr. Dural was captivated by the infectious beat of zydeco and the soaring sound of Chenier’s accordion.

Buckwheat Zydeco (©2008 Rick Olivier/©2008 Rick Olivier)

“To my surprise, I got onstage that first night in Lafayette, and it was so amazing, so energetic, I stayed with the man two years,” Mr. Dural told The Washington Post in 2006. “And I knew then when I got a second band, I would play accordion. My daddy knew what he was talking about.”

Most scholars believe the name zydeco derives from “les haricots,” the French term for beans and a lyric in a Creole folk song. The music mixes elements of blues, R&B and local music into a frothy, up-tempo blend with an irresistible beat. Besides the accordion, zydeco features the metallic rasp of a corrugated washboard — or “frottoir” in Louisiana — played rhythmically with spoons.

In 1979, Mr. Dural formed his band, originally called Buckwheat Zydeco, and the name stuck as his stage moniker. He later called his band “Ils Sont Partis,” a phrase used at horse races to mean “They’re off!”

Mr. Dural became a master of the accordion and also served as his group’s lead singer. He added a horn section and electric guitar, updating zydeco’s appeal while remaining rooted in its traditional sound.

Mr. Dural performed 10 months a year, carrying the distinctive beat of zydeco all over the world. He had a clause in his contract that prohibited the use of the word “Cajun” to describe his music.

Cajuns are white Louisianians of French-Canadian descent. Mr. Dural was part of a black Creole tradition that derived from French and African ancestry.

“When I went with Chenier, it really got to me, like I was running away from my roots by being ashamed to play the accordion, being ashamed to speak French,” Mr. Dural told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. “I’m just glad I woke up.”

Stanley Joseph Dural Jr. was born Nov. 14, 1947, in Lafayette, La., and was one of 13 children. His father was a farmer and mechanic, and Mr. Dural grew up picking cotton and doing other field work.

He began playing piano at 4 and had his first working gigs as a musician by the time he was 10, emulating Fats Domino. He acquired the nickname of Buckwheat from a character in the “Our Gang” series of films.

To Mr. Dural, almost any song could be remade as zydeco: He performed dazzling zydeco versions of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe,” the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden,” Bob Dylan’s “On a Night Like This,” as well as tunes by Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and Captain Beefheart.

He had a breakthrough album in 1985, with “Waitin’ for My Ya-Ya.” When he signed with Island Records in 1987, he became the first zydeco artist on a major label. He was nominated for several Grammy Awards before winning with his 2009 album, “Lay Your Burden Down.”

Zydeco made Mr. Dural an international star, and he toured with U2, Eric Clapton and Willie Nelson. He performed at both of President Bill Clinton’s inaugurations and was featured in the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He appeared several times on “Late Night With David Letterman” and was on the final episode of “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” in 2014.

He lived on a farm outside Lafayette, where he kept animals and a collection of antique cars.

His first marriage ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, the former Bernite Bertrand; and five children.

Mr. Dural often appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, including in April of this year — one of his final performances.

“When you hear zydeco,” he said in 1993, “you have to move. If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you. Call your doctor.”