Johnny Winter, the legendary blues musician famous for his virtuosic guitar playing and smoky voice, has died in Zurich aged 70. He had been due to release a new album in September.
Winter, whose full name was John Dawson Winter III, died in a hotel room in Zurich, according to a statement on his official Facebook page.
"His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world's finest guitarists," the statement read.
No details were given about the manner of death.
Winter was born in the US state of Texas in 1944 and had a career spanning almost 50 years, making his big breakthrough in 1968 when Rolling Stone described him as the hottest item after Janis Joplin.
His name is often mentioned along with rock stars such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, and he had recently announced the planned release of a CD in September with Clapton, Leslie West and other greats of the rock scene.
One of his best-known songs was "Still Alive and Well," recorded after he recovered from heroin addition in the 1970s.
Winter began playing the clarinet aged five, and switched to the ukelele and then the guitar a few years later. In his latter years, his health had begun to fail so much that he mostly sat down during his performances, in contrast to his earlier energetic stage antics.
His often expressed wish was to "be remembered as a good bluesman."
tj/ipj (AFP, dpa)