Veteran blues musician Tabby Thomas has died, aged 84.
The star passed away on Wednesday (01Jan14) at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Thomas died of natural causes just days before his 85th birthday on Sunday (05Jan14).
Thomas' former manager Rueben Williams confirmed the news in a post on Facebook.com, writing, "It's a very sad day. The legendary Baton Rouge bluesman, husband, father, and friend Tabby Thomas passed away... He was an inspiration to so many and the reason for a lot of people's start... He left us with great Louisiana music and unbelievable stories."
The musician's son, Grammy Award-winning blues star and actor Chris Thomas King, also paid tribute to his father, telling The Advocate, "Even when my dad was most ill he still found a way to say something to put a smile on people's faces. His legacy is that he touched people with his music and his conversation."
Thomas rose to fame in the 1960s with his band the Mellow, Mellow Men and enjoyed success with records including Voodoo Party. He set up his own record label Blue Beat and launched his own music club in Baton Rouge called Tabby's Blues Box and Heritage Hall.
The club closed in 2004 after Thomas suffered a stroke and was no longer able to run the business.