Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Winter has died at age 70.
Winter was known for his fast guitar riffs and long, white-blond hair. A 1968 Rolling Stone article painted him as, “a cross-eyed albino with long, fleecy hair, who plays some of the gutsiest, fluid blues you’ve ever heard.”
He died Wednesday in a hotel room near Zurich, Switzerland. Winter had been on an extensive tour that had taken him to Europe and last played at the Lovely Days Festival in Wiesen, Austria, on Saturday.
There is no word as of yet regarding the cause of death.
Winter had quite the impressive career. He gained notoriety in a band with his brother Edgar Winter, who is also an albino, called the Edgar Winter Group. Winter then signed with Columbia Records and released his first album, which was self-titled, in 1969. In the ’70s, Winter’s live shows gained a wide audience of viewers impressed with his fast guitar solos. Rolling Stone went on to name him one of the 100 best guitarists ever.
Of course, Winter had his struggles. He had addiction problems with heroin, and battles with alcohol and prescription medication that also drew attention throughout his career.
Winter was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988.
According to USA Today, Winter has an album called Step Back due out for release on Sept. 2 by Megaforce Records. The album contains traditional blues and rock ‘n’ roll songs with collaborations from Eric Clapton, Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons, Dr. John and Leslie West among others.
A post on Winter’s Facebook page read, “His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world’s finest guitarists.”