Ragtime composer Scott Joplin, no doubt the greatest of all ragtime composers, died on this day in 1917. Hid death of syphilis, from which he'd been suffering due to dementia for a year as a result of, closed out the ragtime era.
Joplin's music was hugely popular in its day, and he may remain the only ragtime composer widely known today. At least a few of his more popular tunes remain well known, including The Maple Leaf Rag and The Entertainer, the later of which revived in popularity during the 1970s due to the move The Sting.
The use of Joplin's music in The Sting was ironic in that it was quite out of context. The film, set during the Depression, takes place in an era well after Joplin's own era had closed. As it was his death in 1917 came on the cusp of the jazz revolution.
Joplin was born in Texas and learned to play piano as a boy. When ragtime hit in the 1890s he was well situated, and very ambitious, so as to be able to exploit the sound. He was highly talented and relocated to various urban areas, spending his final years in New York.