Johnny Winter, a rail-thin blues guitarist known for his scorching riffs, flowing white hair and gravelly, hard-times voice, died Wednesday in Switzerland at the end of a European tour. He was 70.
His death in a Zurich hotel room was confirmed by John Lappen, his public relations manager. Winter, who had emphysema, was recently diagnosed with pneumonia, Lappen said.
Over the years, Winter had battled drug and alcohol addictions that made him appear prematurely frail. In 2005, he weighed 90 pounds, but with the help of fellow musician Paul Nelson he managed to shake his drug dependencies, gain 60 pounds, and resume a vigorous touring schedule.