Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect rescheduled dates for the fundraiser at Sight & Sound Music Center.
Muncie blues artist Governor Davis has died of COVID-19, according to an update posted on Davis’ band’s Facebook page.
Davis, a 1977 Ball State graduate, was the lead performer in the blues group the Governor Davis Band. Davis announced that he had been admitted to Ball Memorial Hospital to be treated for COVID-19 Sept. 6 via his Facebook page.
Dawna Sodders-Simpson, a former background singer for Davis, said he was loved by many people around Muncie and the State of Indiana.
“He didn’t know a stranger — everyone who met him just fell in love with him,” Sodders-Simpson said. “He had something about him that was extraordinary. This is a big loss for Muncie.”
According to his GoFundMe page, Davis was vaccinated against the coronavirus.
A benefit fundraiser to cover Davis’ medical expenses and support his family following his death has been scheduled for Oct. 28 at Sight & Sound Music Center in Muncie. The event will take place 5-10:30 p.m., will feature local bands and alumni of the Governor Davis Band, and will ask for a donation of any amount to enter.
Jason Struble, owner of Sight & Sound Music Center and president of the online sales division World Music Supply, said he was inspired to start the fundraiser because Davis had been "like a brother to [him]."
"When I knew it wasn't looking good, I just felt compelled that I told my wife, 'we've got to do something for his family,'" Struble said. "He's been part of the Sight & Sound family for 22 plus years teaching lessons — he taught my sons to play guitar. He's just an amazing human being and we wanted to help memorialize him and help his family out at the same time."
Struble said Davis was always encouraging to other musicians and inspired his students to keep practicing.
"[Davis' death] was a shockwave through the music community," Struble said. "Governor was a godly man, always bringing joy with a smile to everyone he met."
Sodders-Simpson said Davis wanted people to celebrate his life with a party rather than a funeral.
“[Davis] was a true showman without the ego,” Sodders-Simpson said. “There’s so much more that I can say about him, and everything would be positive. He was just bigger than life, and I think that’s why so many people are mourning his loss.”