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Former drummer for Prince, John Blackwell Jr., dies at age 43

TAMPA, Fla. — One of Prince’s drummers, 43-year-old John Blackwell Jr., has died in Florida.

Blackwell’s wife, Yaritza Blackwell, said in a post Tuesday on his official Instagram account that he died “peacefully” in her company. She thanked God for his life and his fans for their support.

The Tampa-based Blackwell was Prince’s drummer for more than a decade.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office did not respond to a message seeking confirmation of Blackwell’s death.

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. Today, he faces another hospital change, now to a rehab facility, where he will receive Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapies to continue his long recovery process. I want to give special thanks to my mother, that for three months has been next to me everyday taking care of me and John, his friends John Spinelli, Tim Conwell, Bruce Harris and Takuya Futaesaku -Takki- and everyone who has visited him including his family, my family and his drummers friends Gregg Bissonette, Dennis Chambers, Antonio Sánchez, Billy Cobham, Chad Smith, Natalie Depergola, Connor Fass, Eric from Tampa, and musician Joe Cosas, just to name a few. I pray God for John everyday, every hour… and thank you for your prayers, donations and for the good thoughts for John. Yaritza

A post shared by John Blackwell (@johnblackwelljr) on

A Go Fund Me account set up by his wife said Blackwell was in the process of getting tested for “what the doctors think may be tumors in his brain.” The fund, set up about four months ago, had raised about $79,000.

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