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Seasoned drummer, John Blackwell Jr. has passed away at the age of 43.

Blackwell, diagnosed with a brain tumor last year, is most known for his work as a drummer for the late Prince, working with the entertainer for over a decade.

Before joining Prince, he played with Patti Labelle for three years, appearing on her Live! One Night Only album of 1988.


It was Blackwell’s wife, Yaritza, who posted the news of her husband’s passing on his Instagram feed.

“My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way peacefully in my company today,” she penned in a caption. “Thanks God for his life and thanks everyone for their support.”

Four days prior, Yaritza had provided an update on John Blackwell’s health in the same fashion, thanking fans for prayer, support, and donations following the creation of a GoFundMe campaign for John’s medical expenses.

“One year ago, my husband, incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. was diagnosed with brain tumors while in Japan playing at the Blue Note Tokyo in a featuring with top bassist Nik West. This whole year has been very challenging not only for John, but for me also, that have to provide the care he needs, and with the help of God, you as donors, and his doctors, nurses and therapists he is still fighting hard to get better,” she wrote.

“I pray God for John every day, every hour…,” she continued. “Thank you for your prayers, donations and for the good thoughts for John.”