Pioneering Jamaican reggae artist U-Roy has died at the age of 78, his partner has confirmed.
The musician, whose real name is Ewart Beckford, had been undergoing surgery at a hospital in Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston.
U-Roy, who is credited with popularising the vocal style known as “toasting”, died late on Wednesday.
Among those to pay tribute were Grammy award-winning artist Shaggy and British singer-songwriter Ghostpoet.
U-Roy’s partner, Marcia Smikle, told local news website The Gleaner that the artist had been receiving treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and also suffered with kidney problems.
She said he had been in and out of hospital and most recently had undergone an operation to address an issue of internal bleeding.
“It was successful, and the bleeding stopped,” Ms Smikle said, but the doctors had to take him back into the operating theatre at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Wednesday and he later died.
Following news of U-Roy’s death, tributes began to pour in, with Jamaican reggae artist Shaggy describing him in an Instagram post as a “hero” and a “true legend” who was “a master at his craft
British musician Ghostpoet, who was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2011 and 2015, tweeted “RIP”.
RIP U-Roy. They ain’t ready for your toasting in heaven. pic.twitter.com/jxKh35yK5A
— Ghostpoet (@ghostpoet) February 18, 2021
BBC Radio 1Xtra reggae music presenter David Rodigan described U-Roy as “the iconic toaster who changed the paradigm of Jamaican music”.
Former BBC Radio DJ Rob Da Bank said he was a “toaster extraordinaire”.
RIP Daddy U Roy the iconic toaster who changed the paradigm of Jamaican music when he voiced the ‘Version Galore’ album …I was always in awe of him; the tone of voice, the cadence, the lyrical shimmering and riddim riding made him ‘the soul adventurer’ 🎙 pic.twitter.com/t9n4SNkEzr
— David Rodigan (@DavidRodigan) February 18, 2021
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