Blues veteran RL BURNSIDE has died in a Memphis, Tennessee, hospital. He was 78.

Details of his death weren't released when Contactmusic.com went to press but the founder of Burnside's record company Fat Possum, MATTHEW JOHNSON, reveals the singer/songwriter was in "declining" health.

Burnside was a struggling musician for much of his life, but he enjoyed a late-career surge when he was rediscovered by Johnson.

Burnside started life as a farm worker in Mississippi, but started to perform when he was 16 after being mentored by FRED McDOWELL.

He toured America extensively and enjoyed an international live career in the 1970s.

He shot to fame in the early 1990s when he appeared in ROBERT MUGGE's 1991 documentary DEEP BLUES and then found acclaim when he cut two back-to-back albums for Fat Possum, BAD LUCK CITY and TOO BAD JIM.

Burnside was forced to scale back his live shows after having heart surgery in 1999. He's survived by his widow, ALICE MAE, 12 children and numerous grandchildren.