I learned about this sad news last night from Illinois blues. Jeff Healy the increadabliy talented blind guitarists who had some great commercial sucess in the 80s has died of cancer. Healy was only 41. Here is the email from Illinois Blues
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stony Plain Records
780 468-6423 email@example.com
011 49 (0)36087 / 92200 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Pucci, MP Media
The Jeff Healey website contributed to this article.