Col. Bruce Hampton: Beloved Musician Dies After Collapsing Mid-Concert

by at .

Colonel Bruce Hampton, the guitarist affectionately known as "the grandaddy of the jam scene" passed away last night at the age of 70.

Hampton collapsed on stage while performing at "Hampton 70: A Celebration of Colonel Bruce Hampton."

The Atlanta benefit concert was hosted by local musicians as a means of paying tribute to Hampton and his contributions to the world of free-flowing, improvisational rock fusion.

Col. Bruce Hampton Photo

Hampton was in the midst of an encore performance of the song "Turn on Your Lovelight" when he lost consciousness.

Initially, the band kept performing, and there was no reaction from the crowd, as many assumed Hampton was merely turning in one of his famously emotive performances.

Sadly, that turned out not be the case.

Once those present realized the severity of what was taking place, Hampton was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he passed away just hours later.

Col. Bruce Hampton Image

While Hampton's untimely passing is indisputably tragic, those closest to the singer say this is the rare case of a man dying while truly doing what he loved.

Hampton passed away while performing one of his favorite songs with some of his most-admired musicians, surrounded by his those closest to him.

Interestingly, "Turn on Your Lovelight" - a favorite of the jam band set - has something of a macabre history.

The song was first recorded by Bobby Bland, but became the signature tune of the Grateful Dead's Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, an early casualty of the '60s rock scene, who passed away at the age of 27 after years of hard living.

Appropriately, Hampton's final concert was a star-studded affair.

Bruce Hampton Pic

Flyers for the event promised appearances by Billy Bob Thornton, Blues Traveler singer John Popper, and members of The Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, R.E.M., and Phish.

Hampton, of course, was the guest of honor, and his show-closing set was to be the highlight of the night.

Despite the dreadful outcome, many who were present say the guitarist's final soulful performance will remain a bittersweet memory for many years to come.

It's a difficult to overstate Hampton's impact, as in addition to influencing generations of rock and blues musicians in the early decades of his career, he remained popular until his final days, recently appearing in a video for hip hop duo Run the Jewels.

Tributes to Hampton from family, friends, and fans began flooding social media within minutes of the news of his death.

Show Comments
Tags: ,