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By Hubert Kahl, dpa

ZURICH — Blues musician Johnny Winter is dead at age 70, according to Zurich police.

Although no foul play was suspected in his death, which reportedly happened overnight into Wednesday, prosecutors have still ordered an autopsy, a police spokeswoman told dpa Thursday.

There was no mention of the musician’s death on his website or Facebook page, both of which are promoting his new album, “Step Back,” to be released on Sept. 2.

Born John Dawson Winter III, he grew up in Beaumont, Texas, frequenting traditionally black music clubs, according to his website. He formed his first band at age 15 with his brother, Edgar, who went on to become a famous musician in his own right. Both cut striking figures on stage, partially because of their albinism and long, flowing white hair.

After an attempt to break into the Chicago music scene, Winter returned to Texas and got his first break in 1968, when Rolling Stone magazine featured him in an article about the state’s music scene. That paved the way for a recording contract and hits like “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”

He appeared at the Woodstock festival in 1969. But, despite some fans’ hopes that he would become a major rock star, he stayed true to the blues. He is one of a very few white performers to be honored in the Blues Hall of Fame.

After a string of hits in the 1960s and ’70s, with an interruption to recover from heroin addiction, Winter enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, with multiple collaborations with performers such as Slash, Eric Clapton, and the Allman Brothers.

Photo via WikiCommons

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