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Michael Burks, Scheduled to Play Santa Cruz Blues Festival, Died Sunday

Burks, an inspiring and exciting guitarist, is deeply mourned in the blues community.

Michael Burks, 54, a hard-touring guitarist nicknamed "Iron Man" for his long, highly-energetic shows, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack while returning from a European tour.

He collapsed at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and couldn't be revived.

Here is a moving obituary from the Blues Foundation.

Here is his biography from Alligator Records.

Burks was scheduled to play in a guitar trio with Coco Montoya and Jimmy Thackery. Here's the festival's lineup for Memorial Day weekend.

Blues Festival promoter Bill Welch wrote this on the festival's Facebook page:

"This is really a sad time for all blues music fans around the world. Last night we were informed that Michael Burks collapsed and died in the Atlanta airport on his way back from a European tour. Michael was one of the most talented and hardest working performers on the planet. In the many years he has played Moe's Alley, Santa Cruz & the Santa Cruz Blues Festival I always knew he had found his calling in this life to play his guitar and entertain us all. There are very few people who could keep up with Michael's endurance on stage, his love of playing those 2 to 3 hour sets was amazing. More than anything else I'll never forget his incredible talent and passion for the music he shared with us. He is already greatly missed.

Our deepest condolences go out to Michael's family."

Bill Welch
Santa Cruz Blues Festival & Moe's Alley

starr May 08, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I'm so sad. He was such a nice guy and AMAZING guitar player.
Deshon Shed May 09, 2012 at 12:22 AM
From all da staff and management of WMPR 90.1 FM in JACKSON MS. To the BURKS family. Michael will be surely missed. May god"s blessing shower down on you.
Larry Elliott May 09, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Michael was a rare kind of man who inspired so many in the biz. Michael was truly blessed and we were all blessed to have known him. May Gods promise be realized. Larry Elliott ElectroWest and FrontRow Productions inc.
ronnie young May 10, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Mike had a band in high school called Contrast, we played in joints around Camden Arkansas so far back in the woods that they still used wood burning stoves for heat, we never had a bad gig, he was very good people Ron Young
lazur May 10, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Better to wear out than rust out. Play on, brother.

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