Songwriting and blues legend Tony Joe White has died from a heart attack at age 75.
A statement from the family says, “We are with broken hearts to announce that Tony Joe White has passed away at the age of 75. A true legend that will always be remembered as a real artist”.
Tony Joe White is known for a string of his own hits including ‘Polk Salad Annie’ and ‘High Sheriff of Calhoun Parish’.
Tony Joe White songs were also recorded by dozens of artists including Brook Benton ‘Rainy Night In Georgia’ and Tina Turner ‘Steamy Windows’.
Elvis Presley and Tom Jones covered ‘Polk Salad Annie’.
Tony Joe White was due to tour Australia for the Out on the Weekend festival in Melbourne on 13 October. He also had five additional shows booked in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
On September 6, White management cancelled the tour saying, “Tony Joe has a bulging disc in his back that will require physical therapy for the next 3-4 months, and possibly require surgery down the road if the condition does not improve.
The particular discs that are bulging have affected his ability to walk around comfortably because they are connected to his lower legs. Traveling on an airplane for 20+ hours each way to/from Australia would cause him tremendous pain and traveling on more planes and vans to get around the country would further add to the discomfort he currently he has in his back. Plus, it would not be safe for him to get around the venues and hotels because of the effect this is having on his lower legs.
We must also consider that Tony Joe is 75 years old, so his doctor has advised him to postpone these tour dates until after he has completed the program and had a follow up MRI”
White counted Foo Fighters amongst his fans. In 2014 after a performance at the Ryman, Dave Grohl told Rolling Stone, “I had one of the biggest hangovers of my entire life, and I sat down with this man and talked to him for an hour and a half. Not only did he cure my hangover but he changed me in a way that I hope that every time we come around and play, that he comes out and plays with us.”
Tony Joe White died suddenly at his home in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. “He wasn’t ill at all,” said his son, Jody White. “He just had a heart attack…there was no pain or suffering”.