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John Blackwell, Drummer for Prince, Dies of Cancer at 43

Image: John Blackwell, Drummer for Prince, Dies of Cancer at 43
John Blackwell (GoFundMe)

By    |   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017 06:03 PM

John Blackwell Jr., the former drummer for Prince, died Tuesday in Tampa, Florida, after a battle against brain cancer, his wife Yaritza confirmed to social media.

“My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way [sic] peacefully in my company today,” an Instagram post read. “Thanks God for his life and thanks everyone for their support.” The photo showed the couple holding hands.

Blackwell was diagnosed with brain tumors in 2016 while in Japan to play at Blue Note Tokyo, a jazz concert venue. He underwent surgery to remove the tumors and lost use of his left arm and leg when doctors removed part of his brain to get the tumors. He had been moved to a rehab facility last week for physical, occupational, and speech therapies, his wife said on Instagram.

Blackwell graduated from Berklee College of Music after playing the drums since age 3 and joined Prince’s New Power Generation band in 2000 after playing with Patti LaBelle and appearing on her 1998 Grammy-winning LP “Live! One Night Only.” He played with New Power Generation for 15 years and was well-regarded as a skilled and powerful drummer.

Blackwell said last fall that he saw Prince as a father figure to him. According to People.com, Blackwell had been working on a book about his musical experiences on stage.

Fellow drummers and fans memorialized Blackwell on Twitter and other social media sites.

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John Blackwell Jr., the former drummer for Prince, died Tuesday in Tampa, Florida, after a battle against brain cancer, his wife Yaritza confirmed to social media.
john blackwell, drummer, prince, dies
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2017-03-05
Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017 06:03 PM
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