Soul singer Bobby 'blue' Bland has died at the age of 83.
The musician passed away surrounded by family at his home in Memphis, Tennessee on Sunday (23Jun13) after suffering complications from an ongoing illness, his son Rodd tells the Associated Press.
Bland began recording in the early 1950s, but he took a break from music for a stint in the U.S. Army.
He returned to Memphis in 1954 and began touring and working on new material, but financial pressures forced the star to break up his band in 1968.
Bland suffered from depression and became increasingly dependent on alcohol, but he stopped drinking in 1971 to focus on his career - resulting in several critically acclaimed blues and soul albums.
He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, went on to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
Bland had been using a wheelchair since 2008, but would stand up at his shows. One of his last performances was in November (12), when he sang at his induction into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.