Transition: Koko Taylor

(CNN) — The Queen of the Blues is dead.

Koko Taylor performs in Spain in 2005. Her last performance was in May of this year.

Koko Taylor, a West Tennessee sharecropper’s daughter who went to Chicago, Illinois, with “35 cents and a box of Ritz Crackers” at 24 and wound up an award-winning blues legend, died Wednesday at her Chicago home at 80.

She died of complications from a May 19 surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding, her Web site reported.

Just days before the surgery, Taylor won her 29th Blues Music Award, picking up the trophy for Traditional Female Blues Artist Of the Year. She performed her signature song, “Wang Dang Doodle,” at the ceremony.

Known for her powerful vocals, Taylor was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1997, won the Blues Foundation Lifetime Achievement Ward in 1999 and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2004.

She also won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1985 for her album “Queen of the Blues.”

Taylor was born Cora Walton and picked up the nickname “Koko” because of her love of chocolate as a child. She also displayed a love of singing from an early age. (Read article)

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