LOS ANGELES -- Like so many other blues musicians, slide guitarist Louisiana Red long struggled to make a living in his native country, so in the early 1980s he moved to Germany where, to his delight, he found audiences far more receptive to his elemental sound.

Red died Saturday at a hospital in Germany. The guitarist died at 79 after slipping into a coma brought on by a thyroid imbalance, according to a spokesman for his U.S. record company, Ruf Records, which released his latest album, "Memphis Mojo," in September.

Over the years Red received 14 nominations and three awards from the Memphis-based Blues Foundation, including a double win in 2010 for acoustic blues artist of the year and acoustic album of the year for his duet with pianist David Maxwell, "You Got to Move."

The musician born Iverson Minter in Bessemer, Ala., on March 23, 1932 (some sources list his birth year as 1936), went through a series of stage names when he was establishing himself, but the nickname associated with his passion for oysters doused in Louisiana red pepper sauce is the one that stuck.

He landed a deal with Chicago's influential Chess Records after playing a song over the phone for label co-owner Phil Chess, who sent him a bus ticket for Chicago.

"He's kind of one of the originators," Kim Wilson, singer and harmonica player for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, said Monday.

He is survived by his wife, Dora.

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