Blues legend Eddie Kirkland dies in Fla. wreck

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CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (AP) — An 88-year-old blues legend known as the “Gypsy of the Blues” was killed in Florida when his car turned into the path of a Greyhound bus.

Eddie Kirkland was traveling southeast on U.S. Highway 98 in Crystal River, north of Tampa, about 8:30 a.m. Sunday when he tried to make a U-turn in front of the bus, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The bus, which was traveling northwest, pushed Kirkland’s Ford Taurus about 200 yards before the vehicles stopped.

Kirkland was flown to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died.

Thirteen passengers were on the bus, which was being driven by 67-year-old James Smith of Tallahassee, the Highway Patrol said. No one on the bus was injured.

The Highway Patrol continued to investigate the accident Monday.

According to his website, Kirkland, who lived in Macon, Ga., performed Saturday night at the Dunedin Brewery in Dunedin, the final stop in a four-city swing through Florida in February. His tour was to pick up April 8 in Pensacola.

Born in Jamaica, and raised in Alabama, Kirkland eventually moved to Indiana before he settled in Detroit. He polished his blues sound and toured for 7 1/2 years with John Lee Hooker. He moved to Georgia, became a bandleader for Otis Redding and performed with a variety of artists, including Little Richard, Ben King, Ruth Brown and Little Johnnie Taylor.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.