A drummer who spent 15 years working with Prince as part of his band the New Power Generation, has died.
People magazine reports that John Blackwell Jr. died after a battle with cancer. He was 43.
Blackwell’s wife, Yaritza, posted a message Tuesday on his Instagram account saying: “My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way peacefully in my company today. Thanks God for his life and thanks everyone for their support. Yaritza”
People reports: “The Florida-based musician was diagnosed with brain tumors in 2016, which dramatically affected the use of his left arm and leg. Last summer he spent a lengthy spell in the Tampa General Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center enrolled in intensive therapy to learn how to walk once again.”
Blackwell performed with many major artists, including Cameo, Justin Timberlake and Bootsy Collins.
“Blackwell, a graduate from Berklee College of Music, landed his breakthrough gig playing with Patti LaBelle and appearing on her Grammy-winning 1998 LP, ‘Live! One Night Only,'” Rolling Stone reports. “In 2000, Prince recruited Blackwell for his New Power Generation band. Blackwell played on multiple Prince-associated LPs, including 2003 instrumental album ‘N.E.W.S.'”
John Blackwell Jr. (Instagram)