UPDATED: Little Joe Washington Passes Away at Age 75

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

UPDATED: According to Jomonica Phoenix's Facebook page, updated about 4:10 p.m., Washington has passed away. Rocks Off will have a longer obituary and information on memorial services as soon as we possibly can.

Original Post:

As of Wednesday afternoon, beloved local musician Little Joe Washington was clinging to life in the ICU of St. Joseph's Hospital. According to Jomonica Phoenix, who helps look after the impish Houston bluesman, Washington's sister told her that the elderly musician was not expected to live through the night.

Washington had been in the hospital since Monday and had been improving, so much so that he had been "raring to play" his regular Tuesday-night gig at Boondocks as recently as 24 hours ago, Phoenix said. He turned 75 this past March, is diabetic and has had a number of health scares in the past few years, including surgery in 2010 for a partially obstructed bowel and another hospitalization for kidney trouble around Labor Day Weekend 2013.

But his health had been improving and he had even been back to playing selected gigs, most often Boondocks and every-other-Friday happy hours at the Continental Club.

The 75-year-old musician's fortunes had been looking up on another front as well. According to Phoenix, he had been days from being evicted from his apartment before a crowdfunding campaign she started through youcaring.com raised enough to make his monthly rent several times over. As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, she had raised more than $2,800, more than ten times the amount needed.

"I cried when I saw all the donations," she said Tuesday.

Before Washington's conditioned worsened overnight, Phoenix relayed, "I find him to be very frail - but still amazing with his drive to survive and play the blues."

Washington was hospitalized after Phoenix planned to take him a plate of food from this past Sunday's Blues for Food drive at the Shakespeare Pub. When she arrived at his apartment, she found him on the floor and called paramedics, she said.

His turn for the worse Tuesday came as a surprise to Phoenix, who Tuesday afternoon was hoping the musician would be released in time to play his weekly gig at Boondocks that evening. But Wednesday morning she emailed that doctors had since found him unresponsive and rushed him to the ICU.


The Ask Willie D Archives Top 10 Bars Where Your Dog Will Be Welcome, Too The 10 Worst Metal Bands of the '80s 25 Ways to Know You Spend Too Much Time in Montrose Houston's Top 10 Hookup Bars

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.