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Admirers recalled "post-bop" jazz trumpeter and composer Woody Shaw as a hard-luck musician who achieved greatness despite personal tragedies that left him crippled and nearly blind at the time of his death.

Shaw died Wednesday of kidney failure after a long illness. He was 44.His eyesight had been declining for a decade and, on Feb. 27, his left arm was severed when he tumbled down a stairway onto subway tracks in Brooklyn and was hit by a train.

He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where his condition deteriorated and he was stricken by pneumonia. Although his pneumonia abated, he continued to suffer kidney pain and died of kidney failure, said his father, Woody Shaw Sr.

Shaw's musical colleagues called his death an enormous loss to the jazz world.

As leader of the Woody Shaw Quintet, Shaw was rated the top jazz trumpet player of 1978 in the prestigious Downbeat Magazine poll and his record, "Rosewood," was the No. 1 jazz album in the same poll.