Ya’acov “Rusty” Burns played his guitar until the very end. Sitting up in his hospital bed at a hospice in Denver, draped in a hospital gown, the 63-year-old Texas guitar slinger caressed the neck of his Martin one final time in a photo posted on Facebook. It was a love affair that began when he was five years old and lasted more than five decades. “I plan to be buried with it,” he’d often say.
Burns considered himself a “hired gun,” musically speaking, and he was a hitman who shared the stage with legends such as Johnny Winter, the Allman Brothers Band and ZZ Top. He played lead guitar in Point Blank, a Southern rock band that reformed in 2005 after 20 years apart. But now he’s gone to join his former bandmates Kim Davis, Phillip Petty and William “Wild Bill” Randolph on stage in the afterlife.
He died just before midnight on Friday, February 19, after a long battle with lung cancer.