R.I.P. John Blackwell Jr.

John Blackwell Jr. who was a drummer for Prince died in Florida today at the age of 43 after suffering from cancer. His wife announced his passing on his Instagram account. Blackwell was a Columbia, South Carolina native and learned to drum from his father John Blackwell Sr. who played with The Spinners, Mary Wells, The Drifters and many others. He started his professional career as a teenager on his first job playing for Billy Eckstine. In the 90s’ he secured jobs with Patti Labelle and Cameo. He joined Prince’s New Power Generation in 2000 and stayed for 15 years. During this time period, he released a solo album and toured with D’Angelo, Bootsy’s Rubber Band and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. He was diagnosed with brain tumors in 2016 and more than $80,000 was raised through a GoFundMe account for his medical bills. Blackwell was working on a book about his life as a performer.

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