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SWFL guitarist dies of COVID-19, remembered for devotion to music

Community members are mourning the loss of a well-known musician in Southwest Florida.

Loved ones say guitarist AJ Mullins died from the coronavirus recently. He was a member of local group The Collaboration Band.

We spoke to Mullins’ fellow band member Tuesday who said it happened very quickly. And we spoke to the guitarist’s roomate, who was there for his last days. All three tested positive for COVID-19.

“He had a golden voice,” said musician Willie Miller. “This man had one of the most soulful voices you’ve ever heard in your life.”

Miller is The Collaboration Band’s drummer, but he says it was the band’s guitarist, Mullins, who was the group’s heartbeat.

“He would just light up the room,” Miller said. “He was that guy.”

But, almost two weeks ago, Mullins started to feel off.

“He told me, ‘Look. If I disappear off stage. It’s because I’m having a hard time breathing,’” Miller recalled.

Miller, who continues to deal with his own COVID-19 experience, says Mullins did not recover from the coronavirus and died because of it.

“His roommate came home and found him,” Mullins.

Miller’s roommate was 74-year-old Bill Little, who told us he did what he could to support Mullins when he became sick.

“I kept on him,” Little said. “I said, ‘You need to get your butt out of bed and eat.’ He lost 12 pounds.”

Little says he and Mullins moved in together after both of their wives passed away.

“It was Home Alone one when my wife passed away,” Little said. “And, now, it’s Home Alone Two. I got to go through it again.”

Little says he misses Mullin’s music at home, saying it filled their house with joy.

“His music was his life,” Little said. “That’s all he cared about, his music.”

The Collaboration Band plans to play benefit concerts in August to help feed families in the community, and they said they will also use the concerts to honor AJ Mullin’s life.

Little also tested positive for coronavirus, so his message is the same as Miller’s, to take this virus seriously.

“I can’t stress it enough,” Litle said. “Wear a mask … because this is, I mean, enough is enough.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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