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Bo Diddley Dead at 79

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Jun 02, 2008 | 9:24am EDT

Rock n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley has died from heart failure, aged 79.

The legendary singer passed away on Monday at his home in Archer, Florida after a long battle with ill health, his spokeswoman Susan Clary has confirmed.

The rocker, born Ellas Bates, suffered a heart attack last August, just three months after being struck down by a stroke during his tour of Iowa.

The star is often credited as a key figure in the transition from blues to rock n' roll and was best known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat and his signature "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm.

He influenced a whole generation of musicians with his innovative use of the electric guitar, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen.

He won a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1999 and was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some of his biggest hits include I'm a Man, You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover, Mona, Bo Diddley and Shave and a Haircut.

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