I have to note the death of Ali Farka Toure. A musician from Mali in western Africa, his style of electric guitar - unique to my ear - was a very special blend of african and western.
He started with traditional Mali stringed instruments, but got a western guitar when he was 18. He was influenced by american blues and R&B music, such as Albert King and Otis Redding. He won two grammies in the past 10-odd years, the first a collaboration with Ry Cooder.
If I'd never heard anything more, I would still sing his praises on the basis of the first track I ever heard from him, the wonderfully sublime Karaw from 1992's The Source. As it is, I'm glad there's a lot more for me still to explore.
He was 66 or 69 when he died (depending on sources), and the mayor of his town.