- 05 Jul 17
Having performed in the Prince's band for 15 years, the talented drummer John Blackwell Jr passed away at the age of 43.
Barely five days since John Blackwell Jr's wife, Yaritza took to his Instagram account to reveal her husband's year-long battle with brain tumor, she announced the saddening news of the passing of the talented percussionist yesterday.
She wrote: “My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way peacefully in my company today (July 4). Thanks God for his life and thanks everyone for their support.”
My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way peacefully in my company today.… https://t.co/b773h5aqCk
— John Blackwell Jr. (@JohnBlackwellJr) July 4, 2017
Growing up with a passion for music, John Blackwell Jr started playing in high school marching and jazz bands in jazz clubs since he was thirteen. Following the footsteps of his father, John Blackwell Sr, has played with Mary Wells, King Curtis, Joe Simon, J.J. Jackson, The Drifters and more.
Before he started playing for Prince in 2000, he played for the legendary Patti Labelle and more.
In 2009, he debuted his own project - The John Blackwell Project, alongside two educational drum DVDs, "John Blackwell-Technique, Grooving and Showmanship" and "John Blackwell".
His family set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical expenses which, as of today, has reached $79,810 of a $100K goal.
The friends of the late drummer remember the late talented drummer on social media.
#JohnBlackwell legendary drummer for #Prince- THE EPITOME of a heart of gold. A goat in the drummer world. A brother to me. A sidekick on stage to me. A happy person. Pleased by the simple things in life. Food Connoisseur. GROOVE MASTER. NONE LIKE HIM. He passed away today. Exactly one year ago, while on tour together in Japan, we found out he had a tumor. This has left yet another hole in my heart. Today he joins his mother, father, daughter, and Prince (his mentor and the person that was like father to him when his own father passed) in heaven. I'm sending prayers to his wife and everyone else he leaves behind today. I visited him while in the hospital and he opened his eyes and held his drumsticks... I had faith he would get well. But now he has no pain. Please allow a moment of silence for JOHN BLACKWELL! ?‘??#notahappy4thofjuly #alloftheseholes
Saying goodbye to friends & colleagues is becoming way too much of a routine these days...and not just any friends. These are people that shaped my career beginnings. When I first started working with @prince , @johnblackwelljr was the drummer, and had already been in his band for over 10 years. John was very supportive and caring and made my job a lot easier when I first joined by informing me about how Prince ran his operations. I am forever grateful for his generosity. These photos were from when he celebrated my birthday with me when I was playing in @jeffbeckofficial band. #RIP #johnblackwell #prince