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Jamaican Reggae Legend U-Roy Dies After Undergoing Kidney Surgery

Jamaican reggae legend, U-Roy, is dead. He was 78 at the time of his demise. Marcia Smikle, his partner, confirmed this death to The Gleaner, a Jamaican news website

Jamaican Reggae Legend U-Roy Dies After Undergoing Kidney Surgery

“He died at 11:10 last night at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) after undergoing kidney surgery.”

Smikle disclosed that U-Roy had been receiving treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and also suffered from kidney problems.

“He had diabetes and hypertension, but those were under control because we made sure he took his medication. But he also had a kidney problem and was being treated at Andrews [Hospital], and then they told us to take him to UWI for surgery because the kidney had messed up the bladder, and he was bleeding.”

Marcia mentioned that the U-Roy refused to go for dialysis for his kidney as recommended

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U-Roy, or Daddy U-Roy, pioneered the vocal style of “toasting,” performing conversational, rhythmic speech over a reggae or dancehall beat.

Throughout his career, U-Roy released some 20 records and contributed to Toots and Maytals’ Grammy-winning album “True Love”. He was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his influence on the country’s music scene.

Born Ewart Beckford in Jones Town, Jamaica in the 1940s, U-Roy started his musical career as a deejay in the Jamaican parlance, then a vocalist over reggae and dancehall music. His subsequent hits “Wake the Town” and “Wear You to the Ball” established him as one of Jamaica’s most popular musical exports.

By the late 1970s, he reached international fame for records like 1976’s “Natty Rebel” and 1978’s “Jah Son of Africa”. He created his own sound system collective of deejays, engineers, and toasters called Stur Gav that helped launch the careers of his protegées Charli Chaplin, Josey Wales, and Brigadier Jerry. He continued releasing music into the late 2010s, culminating with 2019’s “Rebel in Styylle”.


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Charis Ebiaghian

A creative writer ready to dish out juicy stories as they drop. When she is not writing, she is probably thinking of what to write next

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