SAN FRANCISCO—Larry Hunt, known by many residents and tourists as the “bucket man,” passed away on Monday, February 27, at the age of 64. His cause of death has not been determined.
Hunt was a well-known figure on Market Street who played on a drum set made up of five-gallon buckets, pots and pans and a cowbell, to the public daily, regardless of the weather conditions. Governor Gavin Newsom visited the musician and Hunt possessed a picture of Newsom playing his drum set.
Hunt taught himself to play the drums at age three. He was born and raised in Kansas but relocated to the San Francisco area which he made home. Throughout the years, he received many noise complaints and even had his set confiscated by the police on one occasion. Despite the backlash, he continued to play for anyone passing by.
“My music and my happiness – I’m always happy. I’m hurting inside, but outside, I’m happy ’cause I make y’all happy. I put a smile on your face. So remember that. Be happy till you see another day. Be strong, y’all,” Hunt told NPR in an interview.
His talent got him a role in Will Smith’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” and he was featured on “America’s Got Talent.”
A commenter on one of Hunt’s YouTube videos recounted how he and Hunt went to school together. He used to perform in front of the commenter’s father’s barber shop back in Kansas and described Hunt as a “good kid.”
At the time of his death, he was living in SRO housing but lived for many years on the streets across from Glide Memorial. His partner Cheryl Lein Martin told ABC 7 that Hunt went to lay down and never got back up. There have been rumors his passing was due to a drug overdose, but Hunt claimed he had been sober for years. Hunt’s partner told the SF Standard in an interview that she does not believe his death was caused by drugs.