Veteran blues star ALBERT 'LITTLE SMOKEY' SMOTHERS has died. He was 71.
Smothers passed away at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday (20Nov10) after suffering complications relating to diabetes.
The guitarist and vocalist began his career performing with artists including Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter and later served as a mentor to guitarist Elvin Bishop and the late Paul Butterfield, the founders of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
After stepping away from music in the early 1970s to work as a chef, he began playing the blues again in 1978 and continued performing until several years ago when his health took a hit and he lost both his legs to diabetes.
Smothers' music producer DICk Shurman has paid tribute to the star, saying, "He knew it was time to go, and he went with grace."
He is survived by his wife, Shirley, three children and nine grandchildren, according to the Associated Press.