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African Music Star Ali Farka Toure Dies

One of Africa's most renowed musicians, Ali Farka Toure, has died in his home country of Mali.

Mali's Culture Ministry announced Tuesday that Toure passed away after a long illness. He was about 66 years old.

Toure was a singer and accomplished guitar player, and helped create a genre known as Mali Blues, which combined traditional African sounds with black American music. He cited many Western musicians as a source of inspiration, with special praise for the American blues legend John Lee Hooker.

Toure was best known overseas for his mid-1990s collaboration with American guitarist Ry Cooder. Their Talking Timbuktu album netted Toure his first Grammy Award

He won a second Grammy this year for his In the Heart of the Moon album.

Toure was beloved in Mali, and radio stations suspended their normal programming Tuesday to play his songs.