Influential Howlin’ Wolf guitarist, named 43rd best of all time, was touring right up until days before he passed away

Hubert Sumlin

Influential: Hubert Sumlin

Influential blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin has died at the age of 80.

Named the 43rd greatest player of all time by Rolling Stone, and Sumlin was best known for his years in Howlin’ Wolf’s band.

He kept touring after Wolf’s death in 1976 and was on the road as recently as last month, when he celebrated his birthday at a show in New Jersey.

Those influenced by his work include Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Sumlin was born in Mississippi in 1931 and was given his first guitar at the age of six. He was influenced by Wolf from an early age, and finally joined his band in 1954, where he remained except for a stint with Muddy Waters in 1956. Between 1964 and 2004 he appeared on 15 albums, and he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 2008.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Page recently said: “I love Hubert. He always played the right thing at the right time. Bandmate Dave Spector said: “Hubert had larger-than-live charm and devilishness.”

Sumlin died of heart failure in hospital in New Jersey. He’d been ill for some time and appeared on stage last year with an oxygen supply. Rolling Stones guitarist Richards is believed to have been assisting with his medical bills.

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