Robbie Shakespeare has passed away at the age of 68.
Jamaican Culture Minister Olivia Grange remembers the Jamaican reggae artist – who is best known as half of the rhythm section and production duo Sly and Robbie, alongside Sly Dunbar – after his passing.
She said in a statement: “[Sly and Robbie] took bass and drums to the highest level as they made music for themselves as a band, and for many other local and international artists. “
According to Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, the bassist and record producer had recently undergone kidney surgery and was hospitalized in Florida.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness paid tribute to the late star.
He wrote on Twitter: “My condolences to the family, friends and fans of Jamaican reggae musician and record producer, Robbie Shakespeare of the Sly and Robbie.
“Legendary bassist Robbie Shakespeare has been instrumental in recording and producing albums for various Reggae artists including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, U Roy, Culture, Burning Spear among other big names.
“When it comes to playing Reggae bass, no one comes close to having the influence of Robbie Shakespeare. He will be remembered for his remarkable contribution to the music industry and Jamaican culture. May his soul rest in peace. (Sic) “
Robbie has worked with people like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bob Dylan, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Paul McCartney and Madonna, among others, and he’s won two Grammy Awards during his career, having been nominated for 13.
Aston Barrett of Bob Marley’s reggae band The Wailers taught Robbie how to play bass.
He then joined Sly in the mid-1970s, and they released six albums, the last one being “Dubrising” from 2014.
Speaking about their partnership in 2005, he said, “Sly could start with a drums sound, and I’m like, ‘Boy, where’s the tempo? He said, ‘Yes, sweetie, I understand you, do your thing.’
“And I could fall doing my thing – and it all falls into place.”