Guitarist Paul Nelson has confirmed that blues guitarist Johnny Winter, who turned 7o earlier this year, has passed away. Winter was reportedly found dead in his hotel room outside Zurich. At this stage, there is no confirmation of the cause of death; however, an autopsy has been ordered.
Winter was set to play in Ontario, Canada, next Wednesday evening as part of an extensive tour that was to take him through until November.
Nelson, who was Winter’s friend and band leader, posted on his Facebook page:
“I lost my friend and mentor yesterday
Legendary Johnny Winter Dies at 70
Texas blues icon Johnny Winter has passed away on July 16, 2014 in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland.
His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world’s finest guitarists.
An official statement with more details shall be issued at the appropriate time.”
American Blues Scene first reported that the news was broken by the wife of Winter’s long-time band mate Rick Derringer.
Like his younger brother Edgar (also a musician) Johnny Winter was albino. He broke into national fame in 1968, when Rolling Stone magazine dubbed him the hottest musician outside Janis Joplin. In 1969, he played the Newport Jazz Festival, where he performed with B.B. King, one of his musical idols, and at Woodstock. He also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for another idol, Muddy Waters, in the 1970s. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988 and was named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 100 guitarists of all time (he came in at #63).
As reported on ATN, Winter and his band played the New Orleans Jazz& Heritage Festival earlier this year.
Winter’s new studio album, Step Back, is set for release on September 2, 2014! Musical guests on the album include Dr John, Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons and Joe Bonamassa. The album was produced by guitarist Paul Nelson, leader of Winter’s band.
Step Back Track Listing
1. Unchain My Heart – Johnny Winter
2. Can’t Hold Out (Talk To Me Baby) – Johnny Winter with Ben Harper
3. Don’t Want No Woman – Johnny Winter with Eric Clapton
4. Killing Floor – Johnny Winter with Paul Nelson
5. Who Do You Love – Johnny Winter
6. Okie Dokie Stomp – Johnny Winter with Brian Setzer
7. Where Can You Be – Johnny Winter with Billy Gibbons
8. Sweet Sixteen – Johnny Winter with Joe Bonamassa
9. Death Letter -Johnny Winter
10. My Babe – Johnny Winter with Jason Ricci
11. Long Tall Sally – Johnny Winter with Leslie West
12. Mojo Hand – Johnny Winter with Joe Perry
13. Blue Monday – Johnny Winter with Dr. John