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Tabby Thomas, a renowned Louisiana blues guitarist, has died at age 84. He died on Wednesday, just before his birthday on Jan. 5.
Thomas was best known for founding Tabby’s Blues Box, a room on North Boulevard in New Orleans that became a must-visit location for blues fans, notes the Times-Picayune. He found the building in 1978 and two years later, he opened the Blues Box with the help of his two sons and a cousin.
Unfortunately, the Blues Box closed in 2004, reports the Associated Press. He suffered a stroke and could not oversee the music club’s operations.
“It was during the time when disco had pretty much dried up all the gigs for south Louisiana blues musicians,” his son, Chris Thomas King, told the Times-Picayune. “They didn't have any place to play. My dad had the idea for it to be like a blues social club, and that's what it became.”
Joylyn Thomas Wright told WAFB that her father died of natural causes. “My father's favorite saying was, 'Blues is my life. I'm not saying it's right, I'm not saying it's wrong…c'est la vie,'” she said.
Thomas was married to Jocelyn Johnson Thomas, who died in 2005. They had eight children and 20 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.