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Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley Rock Music Innovator Dead, Age 79

Bo Diddley the musician who along with several other musicians popular during the 1950s ehlped to establish rock'n'roll as a new music genre
is dead at age 79. Diddley had been ill since last August when he suffered a heart attack just months after having a stroke while on tour. He died at his home in Archer, Florida, a town near Gainesville.

Diddley had become an inspiration to a generation of musicians among them Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley both of whom it is said copied moves from Diddley.

Born Otha Ellas Bates in McComb, Mississippi, he was raised by his mother’s first cousin, Gussie McDaniel. After the death of her husband Ms McDaniel moved with her three children and the future Bo Diddley to Chicago where young Otha’s name was changed to Ellas B. McDaniel.

In Chicago he began classical violin lessons and studied for eight years. He started the guitar at age twelve.

From those humble beginnings grew a man of great musical influence. Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1998 he was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame as a musician of lasting historical importance.

After his association with Chess Records ended in 1974 his career never picked up. He would appear in films like "Trading Places" starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd or at American presidential inaugural celebrations for the incumbent George Bush or Senator Clinton's husband Bill.

He was even seen in this commercial for NIKE in the 1990s.
He is survived by his children Evelyn Kelly, Ellas A. McDaniel, Tammi D. McDaniel and Terri Lynn McDaniel; 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

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