Mississippi Blues Legend T Model Ford Suffers Stroke

May 22, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Causes  //  10 Comments

(This story has been updated)

Mississippi blues legend T Model Ford, who became a roots icon along with R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and many other older blues artists from Mississippi through Fat Possum Records, has suffered a stroke. This is not the first stroke T Model has suffered, but the people around him were describing the always-jovial, 90+ years-old blues player’s spirits as “uncharacteristically low.” Since then his health and spirits have improved some.

T Model was admitted to Greenwood Leflore Hospital in Greenwood, MS over the weekend after suffering a stroke, or possibly a series of strokes. According to T Model’s wife Miss Stella, initial tests indicated some serious blockages, and T Model was to undergo angioplasty and start physical therapy. However, because of his age and general health, angioplasty was taken off the table. Since then his health “…has improved a bit and has regained partial use of his right hand and can walk a bit using a walker,” according to family friend Randy Magee. Today, (Wednesday 5-23) family friend Roger Stolle reports that T Model was scheduled to be discharged from the hospital and sent to a physical therapy facility closer to his home.


Family friend Randy Magee visited T Model Ford at King’s Daughter’s Hospital in Greenville, MS yesterday, 5/25 and reports:

T says he’s doing fine folks. He had just come from physical therapy and his lunch came shortly afterwards… let’s just say loss of appetite IS NOT among T’s problems. He showed me that he could move his right arm, hand and fingers, but confided that he couldn’t remember how to play his guitar. He was telling me that he’d forgotten how to sing and a speech therapist came in to start working with him. I gave Stella some cash that some friends from the Netherlands sent for T and left him with the therapist as he already had a room full of family there.


T Model Ford, born James Lewis Carter Ford is the last surviving blues man from the original crop of artists the label Fat Possum Records sought out to make records of and preserve their sound beginning in 1992 from the North Mississippi region. He regularly tours with the Seattle blues band GravelRoad, and is scheduled to play this year’s Muddy Roots Festival. T Model’s actual age is unknown, though it is thought he was born sometime between 1921 and 1925. He recorded 5 albums for Fat Possum from 1997-2008, until moving to Alive NaturalSound Records. T Model’s sound along with the other North Mississippi blues legends has been given credit for inspiring the sounds from artists like The Black Keys and Scott H. Biram.

The Ford family is seeking donations to help with expenses. Information on where to donate can be found below. The Saving Country Music donate button has also been activated in the top right column of the site, so folks wishing to donate through paypal can do so there.

James Ford
Routing# 084205708
Account# 4700445890
Planters Bank
424 Washington Ave
Greenville, MS 38701
PH: 662-335-5258
FX: 662-378-4429

James Ford
443 South 7th Street
Greenville, MS 38703


10 Comments to “Mississippi Blues Legend T Model Ford Suffers Stroke”

  • I just used your paypal button for a donation for T-Model, and I’ll be sharing the link so others can do the same.

  • This is a downer article. I hate to see T Model Ford in such bad shape. All my prayers go to him and his family.

  • My prayers to him and his family. It’s sad and honestly I’m starting to think Muddy Roots may have a curse on legendary Charlie Louvin.

    • I commend Muddy Roots for taking chances by booking these older artists who’ve been forgotten by the genres they helped make great. It shows that independent roots is committed to preserving the past. Also, Don Maddox made it last year, and he was in his 90’s, so hopefully the Muddy Roots roster spot is not a death sentence ;). And I would be surprised if T Model makes it. He’s one scrappy dude.

      • I commend them as well. Older legendary artists need to be included in these events since they are still relevant to the cause and are still inspirational to others. Let’s hope T. Model does make it through his issues and still show up at Muddy Roots.

  • God bless Mr. Ford and his well-being! He’s an incredible fella with one of the most remarkable life stories I’ve ever heard. Without a doubt, this man deserves a lifetime achievement award.

  • T Model is tough as nails. Hang in there buddy we need you now more than ever!

  • anybody know the story why TMF went to jail for stabbin another dude in the neck?

  • So sorry to hear about T. I got the pleasure to meet and hang out for a bit backstage during the 2010 Pickathon music fest.. I was running the main stage film crew, knew who T was and had to bend his ear for a bit. Ran out to the camp site to get him some Beam, even though he wanted whiskey, not knowing that it clearly stated in his rider to not give him any. Get man with and outrageous life and incredible music. All the best to T, get well soon and soooo can not wait to see your documentary PUT A STAMP ON IT!!!

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