San Francisco's 'Bucket Man,' known for his drumming on Market Street, dead at 64
SAN FRANCISCO - If you've ever passed the Powell Street cable car turnaround in San Francisco, chances are you have seen the "Bucket Man."
Larry Hunt was a well-known figure on Market Street for many residents and visitors alike. Rain or shine, he was there pounding a variety of buckets, creating a one-of-a-kind beat.
Hunt's beats were unmistakable, and have been heard on YouTube streams for more than a decade.
Hunt died on Wednesday at age 64, the San Francisco Chronicle first reported.
His homemade drum kit was made of 5-gallon drums, water jugs, and other odds and ends.
He traveled overseas to play his music, and hosted his own TED Talk about 10 years ago.
Hunt became known nationally when he appeared in the 2006 Will Smith movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" and on America’s Got Talent.
"I appeared with Will Smith. I didn't know anything about this movie," said Hunt in that 2012 TED Talk. "They said, 'We want you.' I said 'sure.' Just be in the right place at the right time, and you can get anything you want."
The community that gathers everyday on the stretch of Market Street where Hunt was a fixture, was quiet on Thursday.
Cable car operator "Air Force Juan" worked in the area for nearly 30 years, and said Hunt brought joy to the area and to the tourists who show up here every day.
"What I loved the most about Larry was I could see the happiness on kids faces," said Airforce Juan. "They would jump up and down and parents would smile because their children were happy; and he meant well. He brought goodness to this part of the city."
Reverend Charles Grays has been selling shirts side by side with Hunt for years. He remembers him as a talented musician.
"He had a lot of hidden talents," said Grays. "He just brought one out just lately. He had been bringing a whole band out, and he was drumming. Not on buckets, he had a full drum set, and he would really just get busy."
Grays said Hunt is part of what made San Francisco special.
"I think this area is really going to miss Larry, you know," said Grays. "Larry was really, really I could say an icon around here because he played all up and down these streets with the little buckets and stuff."
Hunt was candid about his drug use in the past. Friends told KTVU he died of an overdose, though his cause of death has not been confirmed by the medical examiner's office.