GENEVA - Texas blues legend Johnny Winter emblazoned himself into the world's consciousness with his tattooed arms churning out lightning-fast guitar riffs and his striking long white hair flowing from under his cowboy hat.
His contrasting appearance and devotion to the blues pioneers of the 20th century turbo-charged a career in which he emulated and, ultimately, championed, his childhood hero Muddy Waters and other icons. Winters carved out a wide niche - and became an icon himself - starting in the late 1960s and 1970s with a sound that blues and country singer Tracy Nelson, prominent during the same era with her band Mother Earth, described as "Texas second generation."
Winter's representative, Carla Parisi, confirmed Thursday that he died in a hotel room just outside Zurich a day earlier at age 70. The statement said his wife, family and bandmates were all saddened by the loss of one of the world's finest guitarists.
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on July 18, 2014