Blind since the age of 1, the Grammy nominee battled cancer his entire life

Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Grammy-nominated rock and jazz musician Jeff Healey lost a lifelong battle against cancer on Sunday, when he died in a Toronto hospital. He was 41.

Rising to star stature as leader of the rock-oriented Jeff Healey Band, the guitarist and his trio had a platinum album with 1988’s See the Light, which included the hit single “Angel Eyes,” the Associated Press reports. He also memorably appeared in the Patrick Swayze movie Road House, playing the frontman of a dive bar band.

Healey – who in his career shared the bill with George Harrison, B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan – had fought cancer since age 1, when he lost his sight to a rare form of retinal cancer known as Retinoblastoma. Because of his blindness, he learned to play his guitar by laying it across his lap.

He is survived by his wife, Christie, two children – and his first rock album in eight years, Mess of Blues, slated for release April 22.
Stephen M. Silverman