Les Paul is dead. I met him once twenty years ago (give or take a few months.) I was going to Bowling Green State University and was considering switching my major from English Secondary Education to Music. I was taking a course in guitar to get my feet wet and to see whether I really wanted to do that or whether I should stick with education.
The teacher did not like me much. I do not know why to this day.
Still, he told the class that he was bringing in Les Paul to talk to us, give us tips, and give a concert for the university. I was one of the few (ok, the only) students who actually knew who he was before the teacher explained to the rest of the class.
Les was old. Back then he had to have been in his early seventies. Still, he poured more emotion from the pitcher of his axe than many guitarists could ever dream of doing.
I was awestruck. When he spoke to us, he was lively, witty, and the epitome of unpretentious cool. He listened to each of us in private and gave us tips. He told me to never stop playing and to never be satisfied with good enough.
I have not played continuously, but I have never given up. And at least part of that is due to him.