Four days after suffering a stroke, Bo Diddley walked around the intensive-care unit at Creighton University Medical Center, and doctors were encouraged that the singer-songwriter-guitarist would be able to perform again, his manager said.
The 78-year-old Diddley told his audience that he wasn’t feeling well during a show in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday night. Diddley’s manager, Margo Lewis, said she had the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer taken to the hospital by ambulance when he appeared disoriented at the Omaha airport on Sunday.
Though Diddley’s speech is impaired, he’s made significant progress.
“We’re going to get a guitar for him and put it in his lap and let him entertain people here,” Lewis said from the hospital. “People think that would be good therapy for him.”
Diddley, with his black glasses and low-slung guitar, has been an icon in the music industry since he topped the R&B charts with “Bo Diddley” in 1955. His other hits include “Who Do You Love,” “Before You Accuse Me,” “Mona” and “I’m a Man.”
Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was given a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1998.
Lewis said it’s uncertain how long Diddley, who has a history of hypertension and diabetes, will be hospitalized in Omaha.
He played two Saturday night shows at Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs. He planned to fly home to Archer, Fla., before starting a monthlong tour of the Midwest and United Kingdom on May 20 in Dallas.
Those shows are canceled, Lewis said, but she believes Diddley will sing again, even though he’ll require speech therapy first.
“Singing a song is different than speaking,” she said. “Even when there is a problem with speaking, or hesitancy, we’ve seen where people can sing perfectly.”