Co-creator of 'MTV Unplugged' dies after being hit by taxi
Dec. 28, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — A co-creator of MTV's "Unplugged" has died of injuries suffered when he was hit by a taxi while walking his dog.
Jim Burns was walking the dog on Saturday morning when he was struck by a cab making a turn onto Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, police said. Burns, 65, suffered a serious head injury and died from his injuries on Tuesday.
The taxi driver remained at the scene. Police still were investigating on Wednesday.
An MTV spokeswoman said the network was deeply saddened to learn about the death of Burns, who created "MTV Unplugged" with Robert Small.
"As co-creator of the beloved 'Unplugged' franchise, his groundbreaking work continues to resonate with audiences around the world," MTV said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones."
Small said Burns was "a terrific human being."
"He could make fun of people without making them feel bad," Small told the New York Post. "He just had a knack for making people happy."
The wildly popular "Unplugged" debuted in 1989 at the height of MTV's musical and cultural influence in America. It features artists such as Nirvana, Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z and Bob Dylan in intimate venues performing stripped-down versions of their songs.
According to Billboard, Clapton's Unplugged album sold 7.7 million copies after its 1992 debut, the most ever for the series. Nirvana's Unplugged album sold 5.1 million copies when it debuted in November 1994 at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It was the band's first album after lead singer Kurt Cobain's suicide that year.
The music series wasn't aired as frequently during the 2000s, but it returned to the air this year, with performances from locations around the country that hold meaning for the artists performing. It premiered in September with Shawn Mendes.
Police initially said Burns was with a guide dog when he was struck, but that account was contradicted by family friends, who said he didn't have vision problems and the dog was a pet.
The dog, named Jules, wasn't injured and was being cared for by a neighbor, Burns' friend Paul Ward told the Daily News.
"Many of his friends have taken comfort in knowing that the end of his life came doing his favorite thing ... walking Jules to Central Park," Ward said.