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Tom Petty Guitarist Mike Campbell Remembers J.J. Cale

'He has been, and always will be, a huge inspiration to me'

J.J. Cale performs in Amsterdam.
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
July 29, 2013 3:10 PM ET

Mike Campbell, longtime guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, has posted a tribute online to J.J. Cale, the Grammy-winning guitarist-songwriter who died of a heart-attack last week.

"Losing J.J. Cale is losing an American musical treasure," Campbell writes. "Always under the radar, he has been, and always will be, a huge inspiration to me and the band."

Readers' Poll: Tom Petty's 10 Best Songs

Campbell notes his admiration for Cale's "magical" guitar tone and "understated" lyrics, while also reflecting on his personal kindness and warmth: "He was always gracious and treated me like a friend."

The Heartbreakers have always been vocal about their appreciation for Cale's music. At last year's Jazz Fest in New Orleans, the band honored Cale by covering his classic track "Travelin' Light," while Petty called him one of his favorite songwriters.

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