Family Reacts To Legend's Passing
Bo Diddley was part of the second group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He played before millions in his nearly 60 year career.
Bo Diddley was known for invention. He designed his own distinctive 'cigar box' guitar fifty years ago. He also created the distinctive rhythm called the Bo Diddley beat that has been copied by everyone from Buddy Holly to Bruce Springsteen.
But to his family and friends, he was much more than a legend.
"Whenever grandpa could be home, he was home,' said Garry Mitchell, Diddley's grandson. "He was glad to be home, because he knew home was where family was."
But there's no doubt that thousands in North Central Florida felt a special connection to a man who made his home between Archer and Bronson for the last 20 years.
Bo Diddley was an active member of his congregation at Archer Church of God in Christ. Mitchell says his granddad was always willing to help out when he found out about needs in the church.
But it was through music that most people knew Bo. Debby Hastings, his bandleader for the past 23 years, says he was a force to be reckoned with.
"He was like a freight train," said Hastings. "He was like 4 guitars at the same time, the way he strummed."
Bo Diddley died early Monday morning at the age of 79 in his home almost a year after he suffered a stroke and a heart attack three months apart.
Mitchell says his granddad was fighting until the end.
"He didn't want to go, because 'I'm still Bo Diddley, but I can rock and roll.' That lets me know he wanted to make another song. He wanted people to sing just one more time," said Mitchell.
The public is invited to his funeral Saturday at 2pm at the Showers of Blessing Harvest Center on Southeast 15th Street in Gainesville. Starting at 1pm, there will be a public viewing. There's also a memorial celebration Saturday night from 6 to 9pm at the MLK Center.
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