Local musician Bill Kelly, founding member of the popular band Blues Empacts, died Tuesday morning at age 79, about 36 hours after he learned that he was being honored by a local blues organization.
Kelly was being treated for a hematoma and had recently suffered a stroke.
On Sunday afternoon, the Natchel Blues Network visited Kelly at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center and informed him that he would be in the inaugural class of the organization's new Hall of Fame. The rest of the class will be announced soon, but NBN president Bill van Elburg moved up Kelly's announcement because of his declining health.
A native of Baton Rouge, La., Kelly first came to the Peninsula when he was stationed at Fort Eustis in the 1960s, and he ultimately settled in Williamsburg. He played bass with Blues Empacts for more than 40 years and served as the band's manager.
Click here to see Blues Empact performing in Hampton in 2013.