Bob Dylan's mentor ERIC VON SCHMIDT died in his sleep on Friday (02FEB07) at a retirement home in Fairfield, Connecticut. He was 75. The guitarist, who became a cult act in the blues and folk scene in the 1950s and 1960s, was a throat cancer survivor and suffered a stroke last summer (06). As WENN went to press, it was not known if either of these illnesses were responsible for his death. Dylan and Joan Baez became great friends and Dylan wrote liner notes for von Schmidt's 1969 album WHO KNOCKED THE BRAINS OUT OF THE SKY? The LAY LADY LAY hitmaker also name checked Schmidt for introducing him to his folky version of blues standard BABY, LET ME FOLLOW YOU DOWN, which Dylan included on his first album BOB DYLAN. As well as becoming a legend on the US folk scene, Von Schmidt was also a celebrated artist and studied art in Italy on a Fulbright scholarship and went on to create album cover art for Baez. He released his first album, THE FOLK BLUES OF ERIC VON SCHMIDT, in 1963.