Bluesman T-Model Ford has died at his home in Mississippi.

He passed away after suffering respiratory failure on Tuesday morning (16Jul13).

A late-starter, the cult star, real name James Lewis Carter, taught himself to play guitar when he was 58 years old and began writing songs about his troubled life, which included six marriages and a prison stint for killing a man in self-defence.

Ford, who released seven albums throughout his career, leaves behind 26 children.

Clarksdale, Mississippi Mayor Bill Luckett, who co-owns the city's Ground Zero Blues Club with actor Morgan Freeman, said Ford was "a master of old-school blues", adding, "His music would take you right back to the heart and soul of the Delta, back in the day."