Guitarist Jeff Healey passes
March 25, 1966 - March 2, 2008
IllinoisBlues.com is saddened by the loss of guitarist Jeff Healey. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Arguably one of the most recognized blues-rock guitarists of the early 90s and beloved around the world, Jeff Healey passed away in a Toronto hospital today after a long bout with cancer. He was 41.
Healey came into the limelight in the early 90s with his Grammy-nominated album for Arista Records See the Light that blended blues with a rock sensibility, topping the charts with the single "Angel Eyes." Blinded at birth with a rare form of cancer, retino blastoma, Healey became well known after his appearance as part of a bar band and an integral part of the movie soundtrack in Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze. The movie along with the single would propel Jeff Healey and his power trio, the Jeff Healey Band into Canada's highest music honor the Juno Award for Entertainer of the Year.
Healey would go on to release two more albums for Arista that never reached the same success as Light. As the 90's passed, Healey picked up his love for early jazz from the twenties through the forties culminating in the Jeff Healey Jazz Wizards' release on Stony Plain last year in which Healey played guitar, drums, and trumpet and had British jazz virtuoso guest star on called It's Tight Like That.
Healey, a family man with a wife and two children who survive, preferred to stay home in Canada in his last years. However, he remained active in the music scene, having a jazz-oriented radio show for Canada's CBC.
At the time of his death he was about to see the release of his first rock/blues album in eight years, Mess of Blues, which is being released in Europe on March 20, and in Canada and the U.S. on April 22. The album was the result of a joint agreement between the German label, Ruf Records, and Stony Plain, the independent Edmonton-based label that has released his three jazz CDs.
Early last year, Healey underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue from his legs, and later from both lungs; aggressive radiation treatments and chemotherapy, however, failed to halt the spread of the disease.
Despite his battle with cancer, he undertook frequent tours across Canada with both his blues-based band and his jazz group; he was set for a major tour in Germany and the U.K. and was to be a guest on the BBC's famed Jools Holland Show in April.
Remembered by his musicians - and his audiences - for his wry sense of humour as well as his musical playfulness, Healey was a unique musician who bridged different genres with ease and assurance.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
For further information, please contact:
416 351-1323 / 416 997-4788 email@example.com
Stony Plain Records
780 468-6423 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mark Pucci, MP Media
The Jeff Healey website contributed to this article.
VERY SAD NEWS indeed Beachy!
I have to admit, I did shed a little tear when I learned of the news on Sunday, and still cannot hear a Jeff Healey song without feeling a lump in my throat.
Canada has lost a musical hero, and the music world has lost a true original who can never be replaced!
Friends in Canberra were shattered when I told them as well, Shannon.
Apparently my mates, Lisa & John own every Jeff Healey album ever released and believe, as do many, that his version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps is the best they have ever heard.
He was extremely well respected in Melbourne, our southern capital, after touring out here a few years back and running around town sitting in at many of the 'Traditional' Jazz venues on trumpet. On a number of occasions playing with friends that Shirley and I had made on previous visits. All said what a wonderful man and player he was.
His version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps is nothing short of amazing!!!