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Nov 23, 1:10 AM EST

Singer-Songwriter Chris Whitley Dies

HOUSTON (AP) -- Chris Whitley, a chameleon singer-songwriter who oscillated between roots rock 'n' roll, blues and alt-rock, has died. He was 45.

Whitley died Sunday of lung cancer in Houston, according to his record label, Messenger Records.

"I hope you all will mourn my brother's death, but more important, celebrate his life as Chris was all about life and living," read a message on the singer's Web site from his brother, Daniel. "I started the celebration by cranking up `Dirt Floor' in his honor."

"Dirt Floor" was Whitley's 1998 album. He recorded 11 albums since his 1991 debut, "Living with the Law," including this year's "Soft Dangerous Shores."

Although born in Houston, Whitley spent time in Germany, New York, Louisiana and other locations. His musical styles also wandered, touching upon everything from rock and blues to electronica and jazz.

Whitley told the Houston Chronicle earlier this year that his eclectic genre mix reflected the myriad, searching themes of his music.

"I'm always looking for something kind of melancholy," Whitley said. "I guess I was trying to mix these things without really knowing it. I write in a way that's more subconscious, just trying to articulate some mystery that's not obvious."



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