Koko Taylor, a sharecropper's daughter whose regal bearing and powerful voice earned her the sobriquet "'Queen of the Blues," has died after complications from surgery, the AP reports. She was 80. The Memphis-born singer died at a Chicago hospital about two weeks after surgery for a gastrointestinal bleed, said a spokesman for her record label.
Taylor's career spanned more than five decades. While she did not have widespread mainstream success, she was revered among blues aficionados, and earned worldwide acclaim for her work. "The passion that she brought and the fire and the growl in her voice when she sang was the truth," blues singer Ronnie Baker Brooks said yesterday. "The music will live on, but it's much better because of Koko. It's a huge loss."