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Traffic's Jim Capaldi Dies

Drummer and Hall of Famer loses battle with cancer

January 28, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Drummer Jim Capaldi, who co-founded the late-Sixties psychedelic blues band Traffic with then eighteen-year-old Steve Winwood, died early today of stomach cancer at a London hospital. He was sixty years old.

Born in England to Italian immigrants, Capaldi lived and made music with friends Winwood, Dave Mason and Chris Wood in a cottage in the Berkshire countryside. The crew of multi-instrumentalists and songwriters scored U.K. hits with songs such as "Dear Mr. Fantasy," "Paper Sun" and "40,000 Headmen," releasing eleven albums before breaking up in 1974.

Capaldi went on to record eleven solo records with his own band, the Contenders, while Winwood achieved chart-topping success with his own solo career in the Eighties. In 1994, the two reunited to tour extensively as Traffic, appearing at the revived Woodstock festival. (Of the other original band members, Wood had died of pneumonia in 1983, and guitarist Dave Mason has had a tempestuous relationship with Winwood over the years.)

Traffic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last March, five months before Capaldi was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Winwood and Capaldi had been set to launch another Traffic tour last October but were forced to cancel in August when Capaldi began treatment for a severe gastric ulcer.

Capaldi is survived by his wife Aninha and his daughters Tabitha, 28, and Tallulah, 26.

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