Robbie Shakespeare, one half of the duo Sly and Robbie, has passed away aged 68 years.
It’s been reported by The Jamaica Gleaner that Shakespeare had recently undergone surgery related to his kidneys. The Jamaican artist was hospitalised in Florida.
Shakespeare, an iconic bassist, formed Sly and Robbie with drummer Sly Dunbar in the mid-70s after having both worked separately in other bands.
After bonding over an affinity for reggae production, they went to work producing for other artists, with their breakout credit being Mighty Diamonds’ 1976 album ‘Right Time’.
Their production work led them to work with a myriad of acts throughout the decades, including multiple albums for Bob Dylan and Grace Jones.
They also helped produce and remix tracks by Bob Marley, Madonna, Britney Spears and Mick Jagger, while also helping production on No Doubt‘s 2001 smash hit ‘Hey Baby’.
Throughout their career, Sly and Robbie also went on to release several albums of their own, the last of which was 2019’s ‘The Final Battle: Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics’ which was nominated for Best Reggae Album at the 2019 Grammys.
Sending his condolences, Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness tweeted:
The legendary bassist Robbie Shakespeare played a significant role 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 Reggae bass playing, no one comes close to having the influence of Robbie Shakespeare. He will be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music industry and Jamaica’s culture. May his soul Rest In Peace.
Jamaica’s minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, Olivia Grange, said in a statement that she was “in shock and sorrow after just receiving the news that my friend and brother, the legendary bassist Robbie Shakespeare has died.”