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Well-known Charleston area musician Charlie Tee died Saturday night after a struggle with COVID-19. Tee was best known as the singer for The Carpenter Ants.

Charles Tuitt, better known as Charlie Tee, lead singer for Charleston area band The Carpenter Ants, has died of complications due to COVID-19.

He was 68. His death was announced by his bandmates via social media on Saturday.

Tuitt was born Jan. 22, 1953, in New York City and came to West Virginia sometime in the 1980s. He studied at West Virginia State University and later took a job with the Kanawha County Public Library, where he worked for many years.

A singer and saxophone player, Tuitt helped form The Carpenter Ants in 1992, along with Mountain Stage guitarist Michael Lipton, drummer Jupie Little and bassist Ted Harrison.

The gospel/soul/roots music band has been a fixture on the West Virginia music scene. For years, The Carpenter Ants performed at the regular Mountain Stage after-party at The Empty Glass in Charleston, where guests of the radio show frequently sat in with the band.

The Carpenter Ants have also toured nationally and internationally, opening for the Rev. Jesse Jackson, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Gov’t Mule, among others.

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Tuitt’s health had been declining for years.

A longtime diabetic, the singer’s kidneys failed years ago, which caused him to undergo regular dialysis treatments. Diabetes also caused damage to one of Tuitt’s legs, leading to an amputation at the knee.

Neither regular dialysis treatments nor a missing leg stopped him from performing or recording music. He was actively doing shows within the past couple of months.

Tuitt’s wife, Lynn Rousseau, documented his struggle with COVID-19 on social media. According to those posts, the couple, who were both vaccinated, came down with COVID-19 just before Thanksgiving. While Rousseau recovered after a short bout of the virus, her husband’s illness lingered and his condition declined.

In early December, the singer was admitted to Charleston Area Medical Center. By Dec. 12, he was moved into an intensive care unit and eventually placed on a ventilator.

In announcing Tuitt’s death, a post on The Carpenter Ants’ Facebook page read, “Rest in Peace our brother. There will never be another like you. We will always remember your smiling face and positive attitude — no matter how tough things got.”

Bill Lynch covers entertainment. He can be reached at 304-348-5195 or lynch@hdmediallc.com. Follow @lostHwys on Twitter and @billiscap on Instagram.

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