Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, Paul Stanley of Kiss and Slash are among the musicians who have paid tribute to blues icon Johnny Winter after his death at 70.
He was found dead in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland, midway through a European tour. His appearance at the Lovely Days festival in Austria last weekend turned out to be his final show.
Investigators have ordered an autopsy to establish his cause of death, although it’s reported that no foul play is suspected.
He was gearing up to release an album entitled Step Back in September, and was planning to tour the US with brother Edgar before returning to the UK in 2015.
Winters’ guitarist Paul Nelson, who was instrumental in looking after the veteran musician’s health and performances in recent years, last night posted a picture of his colleague’s trademark hat and said: “Thanks to all from Johnny’s family, band and crew for the overwhelming outpouring of love and admiration for Johnny during this very very sad time.”
Tributes to Winter
BIlly Gibbons: “When I first saw Johnny perform I was maybe 12 or 13 and he was known as ‘Johnny Cool Daddy Winter.’ We’ve always thought of him as exactly that: ‘one cool daddy.’ Johnny became a dear and passionate friend as well as the accomplished bluesman we have come to admire. It’s now a moment for celebration of his brilliance frozen for all time. We’ve lost another of the gifted guitar greats and a truly soulful spirit.”
Nikki Sixx: “So bummed. I spent many many years soaking up his music late into the night.”
Paul Stanley: “We have lost one of the absolute greats. What a player. Thank you for all the fire.”
Bruce Kulick: “I can’t forget the Gibson Firebird I brought out on the road a few weeks ago. I told Lisa, ‘Johnny Winter used them and they’re amazing guitars.’ So was Johnny. He played lead on the demo that got my band Blackjack, with Michael Bolton, a record deal in 1979. One of the greats.”
Zakk Wylde: “God bless Johnny Winter – long live the king of the Firebird.”
The Doobie Brothers: “We all knew him – TJ got his first Firebird from Johnny in 1973. Cool guy, incredible guitar player.”
**Joe Satriani: **“RIP Johnny – we will miss you.”
Michael Anthony: “I am deeply saddened. He was a huge influence on me growing up. I played many of his songs in bands – even in Van Halen – and I saw him in concert many times. Thank you for the music, Johnny. You will be deeply missed.”
Foghat: “We’re really sad. The world has lost a true legend and a good man.”
Flea: “God bless Johnny Winter.”
Steve Lukather: “The world has lost one of the greats. My heart goes out to my friend Edgar Winter, and Johnny’s family.”