Celebrities are mourning the death of Prince’s former drummer, John Blackwell Jr.
On Tuesday, July 4, Blackwell, known for lending his sticks to artists such as Prince, D’Angelo, and Justin Timberlake, died following a yearong battle with cancer. He was 43.
Blackwell’s wife Yaritza broke the sad news via Instagram, writing, “My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way [sic] peacefully in my company today.” She added, “Thanks [sic] God for his life and thanks [sic] everyone for their support,” alongside an image featuring herself grasping his hand.
In 2016, Blackwell was diagnosed with a brain tumor which greatly restricted the use of his left arm and leg. Last summer, he enrolled at Tampa General Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center where he received intensive therapy to learn how to walk once again. As fans may already know, his wife used social media as a tool to document his painful journey. In the past, Blackwell himself opened up about his illness, telling Tampa Bay’s 10 News, “I get lazy as everybody knows. I’ll be like, ‘I don’t want to go,’ but then something tells me in my mind, ‘Hey bro if I’m going to get out of here and get back to the drums … go to your therapy.’ ”
Shortly after hearing the news, artists including Questlove, Travis Barker, and Hall of Fame bassist/voicalist and former Prince collaborator Nik West paused their Fourth of July celebrations to mourn the loss of their fellow musician.
“Brother John….. brother John,” wrote Questlove.
Rest In Peace #JohnBlackwell Your legend will live 4ever. One of the best to ever pick up drumsticks. Prayers to family and friends 🥁🙏🏻
— Travis Barker (@travisbarker) July 4, 2017
“Rest In Peace #JohnBlackwell Your legend will live 4ever,” tweeted Barker, paying his respects to the Florida based musician. “One of the best to ever pick up drumsticks. Prayers to family and friends 🥁🙏🏻,” he concluded.
— Nik West (@Nikwestbass) July 4, 2017
R.I.P. John Blackwell Jr. Share your condolences in the comment section below.