JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — James Lewis Carter “T-Model” Ford, a hard-living Mississippi blues singer who taught himself to play guitar at 58, has died at his home in Greenville.
Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson tells The Associated Press that Ford died of respiratory failure shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday. She says he was at home with several relatives, including his wife, Estella Ford.
Johnson says the family told her Ford was born in 1924 and had already had his birthday this year, which would’ve made him 89. But a blues expert and longtime friend, Roger Stolle (STOH-lee), says Ford didn’t remember what year he was born and claimed to be 93.
Bill Luckett, co-owner of Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss., says Ford was “a master of old-school blues” with an international following.