Jerry RicksJerry Ricks, a Philly-born guitar player best known for his expert finger-picking and unique style of country blues, died this past Monday in a clinic in Croatia, according to a report from the Associated Press and the Croatian Music Union.

Ricks, 67, and his wife Nancy moved to the Balkan nation earlier this year. He suffered a stroke in mid-August and had been hospitalized in Rijeka ever since.

Ricks, who took the name “Philadelphia” to distinguish himself from another musician with the same name, learned to play the guitar from some of the greats who came through town in the 1960s, including Josh White, Mississippi John Hurt, Brownie McGhee, the Rev. Gary Davis, and Skip James. He also played with blues legends such as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sonny Terry, Jack Dupree, Son House, and Doc Watson, and collaborated with major jazz artists, including Archie Shepp and McCoy Tyner.

He recorded several solo albums and participated in numerous sessions, and spent much of the ’70s and ’80s living and performing in Europe. He returned to the United States in the early ’90s, and split his time between Philadelphia, the Mississippi Delta, and the Jersey Shore.

Friends of Ricks gathered in October to raise money for his medical expenses by staging a benefit concert that included performances by Shemekia Copeland and David Bromberg.

“I never tried to walk in my mentors' footsteps. And nobody ever asked me to carry on their legacy after they were gone,” Ricks told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000. “I just had an honest relationship with these people and their music, and I followed my nose around.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.—Gabriel J. Hernandez