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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 14:01 GMT
Blind rocker Healey dies aged 41
Jeff Healey
Jeff Healey was renowned for his method of playing the guitar
Blind Canadian rock musician Jeff Healey has died in a Toronto hospital aged 41 after a lifelong battle against cancer, his publicist has said.

Healey, famed for playing his electric guitar flat on his lap, lost his sight at the age of one after contracting cancer of the retina.

His 1988 album See The Light was nominated for a Grammy award and sold one million copies in the US.

Healey's latest album was due to be released in Canada on Monday.

Blues rock release Mess of Blues is expected to become available in the US and around Europe later this month and in April.


He was also due to appear on Later With Jools Holland and tour the UK and Germany.

His publicist Richard Flohil told broadcaster CTV: "Jeff was an intriguing player to watch, because he played guitar - by any conventional standard - all wrong, with it flat across his lap."

Jeff Healey
Jeff Healey also played the trumpet and clarinet

"But he was a remarkable, a virtuoso player," he added.

Colin Bray, a member of Healey's band who was at his bedside when he died, said: "I don't think any of us thought this was going to happen.

"We just thought he was going to bounce back like he always does."

Healey played with blues legend BB King and recorded with Mark Knopfler and the late George Harrison.

He was also a lover of jazz, and hosted radio shows in Canada where he would play music from his record collection, which numbered more than 30,000.

Last year, he underwent cancer surgery on his lungs and legs and had chemotherapy.

The musician is survived by his wife Christie and two children.

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