Another musical great has died with the passing of Bo Diddley.
Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Bo Diddley, who banged out hit songs powered by the relentless “Bo Diddley beat” that influenced rockers from Buddy Holly to U2, died on Monday at the age of 79.
Diddley died of heart failure at his home in Archer, Florida, his management agency, Talent Consultants International, said in a statement.
“One of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll has left the building he helped construct,” the statement said.
Diddley suffered a stroke during a concert in Iowa in May 2007 and was hospitalized in Omaha, Nebraska. In August 2007 he had a heart attack in Florida.
Thankfully he was surrounded by family for his final moments and he knew where he was going.
Garry Mitchell, a grandson of Diddley and one of more than 35 family members at the musician’s home when he died at about 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT), said his death was not unexpected.
“There was a gospel song that was sang and he said ‘wow’ with a thumbs up,” Mitchell told Reuters, when asked to describe the scene at Diddley’s deathbed.
“The song was ‘Walk Around Heaven’ and in his last words he stated that he was going to heaven.”
Bo Diddley will be sadly missed but his influence will live on through the music of many others.
Diddley’s unique guitar playing and rhythm influenced generations of rockers from Elvis Presley to Bon Jovi. Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi made guest appearances on his records and Diddley played with the likes of The Clash and The Grateful Dead.