Jeff Golub, a respected session guitarist who worked with a lengthy list of acts including Billy Squier and Rod Stewart while releasing a string of best-selling solo albums as a smooth jazz bandleader, has passed away at the age of 59.

Golub's Jan. 1 passing came after a lengthy struggle with various ailments; in 2011, he suffered the collapse of an optic nerve, leaving him blind and contributing to a scary incident the following year in which he was nearly killed after falling onto some subway tracks. His medical woes didn't stop him from continuing to record, however -- in fact, the title of his final album, 2013's 'Train Keeps a Rolling,' was a good-humored reference to his subway accident.

Starting out his recording career as a member of Squier's band, Golub appeared on all of Squier's hit Capitol albums and quickly became an in-demand session player, racking up an impressive list of credits while attracting the attention of Stewart, who hired Golub in 1988. He'd remain in Stewart's employ until 1995, all while continuing to pursue the solo career he started with 1988's 'Unspoken Words' LP.

As a solo artist and leader of his group Avenue Blue, Golub recorded a string of bestselling smooth jazz LPs, including 1996's 'Naked City' and 2000's 'Dangerous Curves.' His 2011 release, 'The Three Kings,' served as a tribute to B.B., Albert and Freddie King; for 'Train Kept a Rolling,' he worked alongside Hammond legend Brian Auger and enlisted guest vocalists Christopher Cross and former Ambrosia leader David Pack.

Sadly, no matter how determinedly Golub maintained his career, his health issues persisted, and in late 2014, he was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare degenerative brain disease, complications from which led to his death.

Golub's passing prompted tributes from many of his peers and collaborators, including saxophone player Dave Koz, who hired him as part of the house band for Emeril Lagasse's TV show. "I love you, Jeffrey," reads Koz's Instagram post in part. "Thank you for all you brought to our lives." "He was a wonderful guitarist and an even better person," added guitarist Joe Bonamassa. "He will be very missed."

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