Popular musician dies hours after birthday celebration at Fox Theatre

ATLANTA — A popular Atlanta musician spent his last moments alive surrounded by friends and family, who were celebrating him.

Col. Bruce Hampton was at the Fox Theatre Monday for his 70th birthday when he collapsed. It happened during the show’s encore of “Turn on Your Lovelight.”

"I look at it as a beautiful way to go, surrounded by friends and family doing exactly what you love to do," fan Lark Abrams said.

Witnesses said they saw him lay down on the stage and not get up.

Col.  Bruce Hampton at the Fox Theatre on May 1, 2017 (Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC)

The band continued to play for more than four minutes, not realizing that the collapse was not part of Hampton's normal onstage antics.

"The colonel took a knee and then was on the ground and we all thought ...  it was the colonel being the colonel. He's being silly," said T. Reyes, who attended the concert. "Nobody knew what was going on. It was shocking."


He dies at the hospital hours later.

Hampton was known as Atlanta’s “Granddaddy of the Jam Scene.”

A small memorial is now growing outside of the Fox Theatre and they are honoring him on the marquee.

A Fox Theatre spokesperson sent the following statement: "The entire Fox Theatre family is devastated by the new of Col. Bruce Hampton's passing. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and loyal fans."

The Tedeschi Trucks Band released a statement from Hampton’s family:

From the family of Col. Bruce Hampton: After collapsing on stage surrounded by his friends, family, fans and the people...

Posted by Tedeschi Trucks Band on Monday, May 1, 2017