Colonel Bruce Hampton has died hours after taking to the stage at a star-studded birthday bash in his honour. The musician, fondly known as the "Granddaddy of the Jam Scene", collapsed on stage at the Hampton 70 celebration, which took place Atlanta's Fox Theatre on 1 May.
The performer's family confirmed his passing in a statement that read: "After collapsing on stage surrounded by his friends, family, fans and the people he loved Col Bruce Hampton has passed away. The family is asking for respect and privacy at this difficult time"
Georgia Musicians John Popper, John Bell, Herring, Sipe, Jon Fishman, Duane Trucks, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Chuck Leavell and Warren Haynes and more made up the multi-generational line-up for the four-hour event.
Having opened the event to mark his birthday milestone, Hampton returned to the stage again to close the show. He collapsed as his track Turn On Your Lovelight finale was nearing a conclusion.
Onlookers and his fellow musicians initially believed it to be a ruse before organisers closed the curtains and the guitarist was rushed to Atlanta's Crawford Long Hospital.
Paying tribute to his frequent collaborator and one-time bandmate Jeff Mosier described the on-stage death as "a joyous departure".
He wrote: "He died at Crawford Long Hospital here in Atlanta just a while ago. I feel so blessed to have been there tonight and be a part of the greatest gathering of friends and loved ones. I've never seen Bruce happier. I've never been sadder. I've dreaded this day for years, but could have never imagined a more joyful departure. I feel so lost."
Hampton was credited for the rise of the "jam band" after forming Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Ahead of his birthday event, he opened about the secret to his success telling WABE's Lois Reitzes: "It requires a lot of listening and sensitivity. You have to anticipate the moment. It's like a fast break with a basketball team."