Bobby 'Blue' Bland dies: Blues and soul singer was 83

Robert Calvin Bland, better known as Bobby "Blue" Bland, has died at 83 years old. Bland's death was confirmed by his son, who said he had been ailing for a long time.

Bland had been forced to retire from the stage earlier in the year due to his failing health, CNN reports. "He had a hole in his stomach that had become tumorous, and it was emptying into his bloodstream," his son explains.

Bland got his musical career started in a gospel group, before joining the blues outfit the Beale Streeters. There, he joined Riley King, known to the world as B.B. King. He was then drafted into the army in 1952, resuming his music career after he was released from service. In addition to hits like "I Pity the Fool" and "That's the Way Love Is," he was also sampled by Jay-Z. The rapper used a sample of "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" in his album "The Blueprint," released in 2001.

The Recording Academy released a statement on Bland's death, reading, "Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bobby 'Blue' Bland was a prolific blues singer and balladeer. His signature performance style seamlessly blended a mix of blues, country, gospel, jazz and pop music to create his unique sound. He was a stylistic pioneer who influenced countless musicians across many genres, with a career spanning nearly eight decades. Our music community has lost a tremendous and legendary talent, and we mourn this loss with his family, fans and all those who had the pleasure and privilege of working with him."
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