06/22/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT
Legendary blues guitarist John Lee Hooker, 83, whose stark, one-chord boogies influenced generations of rock and folk stars (including the Rolling Stones), died on Thursday in sleep at his home near San Francisco, said his agent. Though he lived in San Francisco, the artist, whose career spanned more than six decades, never strayed far from his Mississippi Delta roots. He was born in that state's Clarksville. As for what constituted the blues, Hooker once said, "No matter what anybody says, it all comes down to the same thing. A man and a woman, a broken heart and a broken home." In 1991, Hooker was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he had been in good health and maintained a full performing schedule despite his advanced age, manager Rick Bates told Reuters. "This was totally unexpected," he said of Hooker's passing. "He had the audience on their feet three or four times on Saturday night."