Reggae singer, U Roy, dies at 78

Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress


By Adesoba Toluwalope

Jamaican vocalist and reggae singer, Ewart Beckford also known as U-Roy, has passed on, aged 78.

Marcia Smikle, his partner, confirmed this death to The Gleaner, Jamaican news website.

The singer passed on at 11:10 pm at the University Hospital of the West Indies. He was receiving treatments for diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney ailment.

His partner, Marcia said, “He died at 11:10 last night at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) after undergoing kidney surgery.”

“He had diabetes and hypertension, but those were under control because we made sure he took his medication.

“But he also had a kidney problem and was being treated at Andrews [Hospital], and then they told us to take him to UWI for surgery because the kidney had messed up the bladder, and he was bleeding.”

She added that Ewart had turned down dialysis for his kidney ailment till he died.

U-Roy was born on September 12, 1942 in Jones Town, Jamaica.

Dancehall star, Shaggy, on his Instagram page wrote, “Today we lost one of our heroes! A true legend in this game of dancehall/ Reggae.

“With such greats as Colonel Josey Wales and Charlie Chaplin, pioneers in this game with a catalogue of amazing recordings U Roy was a master at his craft. Rest Well daddy Roy!”

U-Roy in 2004 was among the artists to feature on Toots and the Maytals’ Grammy-winning all-star album ‘True Love’.

He was also awarded the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican government for his contribution to music in 2007.

He is also known as the Originator and Hugh Roy.

Beckford was the first toaster to popularize the form through a series of successful releases on the Duke Reid label gaining a wider audience for toasting.


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