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After his California sojourn, Hooker returned to Chicago and performed regularly around the city, including the first Chicago Blues Festival on August 30, 1969, which attracted about 10,000 people. In October 1969, Hooker toured Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival, where he played twenty concerts in twenty-three days in nine countries. There his sets were well received and garnered favorable reviews. "The journey overseas was a sort of apotheosis for Hooker, who regarded it, along with his recording trips to California, as the climax of his career." The tour exhausted him and "his friends noticed a severe deterioration of his health upon his return." Hooker played a few dates around Chicago (including some with Junior Wells) from November to early December 1969, thereafter he was hospitalized. On April 21, 1970 at age 41, he died from complications due to tuberculosis. He is interred in the Restvale Cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Alsip.

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