Fans of D’Angelo’s latest LP, Black Messiah, will be sad to learn of John Blackwell Jr.’s passing at just 43 years of age. Blackwell Jr. was a seasoned touring drummer for the likes of Justin Timberlake, and was perhaps most notably part of Prince’s post-millennium band, The New Power Generation, in addition to his work as part of The Vanguard.
As Fact reports: “According to a statement from Blackwell Jr.’s wife Yaritza, he passed away “peacefully in my company today” (July 4). He had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016.”
Blackwell Jr. was born in Columbia, SC in 1973, and first began drumming for Patti LaBelle in 1998, preceding his move to Prince’s band in 2000.
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