I first saw Jeff Healey play on the New Music back in the early 80's. John Roberts was J.D., and he did a story on a blind teenage phenom who played blues guitar with the guitar across his lap. He cited Jimi Hendrix as an influence and played in a very Hendrix style.
Five or six years later, in 1988, Jeff Healey was on the charts with the album See The Light. It included the hit songs Confidence Man, the title track and perhaps Healey's biggest hit, a wonderful version of John Hiatt's Angel Eyes. His second album two years later, Hell To Pay, featured a stunning version of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It takes a man among guitar players to tackle a classic Eric Clapton solo but Healey pulled it off.
Sadly, Jeff Healey has fought cancer all his life, losing his sight to Retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer, at age one. Last January (2007) it was announced that Healey had had been diagnosed with lung cancer surgery the previous December, and had undergone surgery to remove the cancerous tissue.
Jeff Healey passed away last evening at St. Joseph's Hospital Toronto. He was 41 years old and leaves a wife and two children, 13-year-old daughter Rachel and three-year-old son Derek. At Home in Hespeler offers condolences to the family of Jeff Healey, a great Canadian talent gone far too young.