Memphis blues legend Preston Shannon dead at 70

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis music legend Preston Shannon died at the age of 70, his family confirmed Monday.

Shannon was originally from Olive Branch, but spent much of his life in the Bluff City, where he recorded music with the Preston Shannon Band and regularly played songs on Beale Street.

"He was one of the best guitar players there is," Preston's brother Claud Shannon said.

Preston was the baby boy of eight children. His brother Claud said Preston fell in love with music early in his life.

A Mississippi preacher gave Preston his first guitar.

Preston taught himself to play the blues. He moved to Memphis when he was just 8 years old. He began singing background for local artists but soon started his own band.

After years of playing in local clubs like B.B. King's Blues Club, Preston signed a record deal.

He became known as the King of Beale Street; people who knew him said his personality and charisma were just as much a part of him as his music, and they said that both had a lasting impression on everyone.

"Everybody just loved him. He was humble, very humble. He would do anything that he could for you," Claud Shannon said.

Following the news of his death, fans and friends created a vigil near his Beale Street music note.

Family said Shannon died after a short battle with cancer. He was given six months to live in June but survived through seven.

A processional down Beale Street will be held Friday in Shannon's honor. His visitation will be held at R.S. Lewis Funeral Home, and it will follow the processional. Funeral services will be held Saturday at St. Luke COGIC Church in Olive Branch.

Shannon appeared on a season of NBC's "The Voice" in 2012. He released an album as recently as 2014.

The band honored their fallen friend by sharing this song from YouTube.

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