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Legendary reggae singer Alton Ellis dies

Latest update : 2008-10-12

Jamaica's reggae star Alton Ellis has died of cancer in west London at the age of 70. His manager and agent Trish De Rosa said Jamaican authorities were considering the possibility of giving Ellis a state funeral.

Jamaican reggae star Alton Ellis, known as the "Godfather of Rocksteady", died overnight of cancer in London, a hospital spokeswoman said Saturday. He was 70 years old.
   
Ellis passed away peacefully at Hammersmith Hospital, the spokeswoman said.
   
The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with multiple myeloma last year. He underwent chemotherapy and returned to the stage before he collapsed during his final performance in central London in August.
   
Ellis, who moved to Britain in the 1970s, had a string of hits in a career spanning more than 50 years, including "I'm Still In Love", "Dance Crasher" and "I'm Just A Guy".
   
He was awarded the Order of Distinction medal by Jamaica in 1994.
   
His manager and agent Trish De Rosa, of Roots-Rockers Promotions, said he was a key figure in Jamaican music.
   
"His life was the music and the stage," she said.
   
"He was getting a tremendous amount of work right up to the end -- it was very difficult to get him to slow down.
   
"He wanted to do as much as he could and leave a strong legacy."
   
She said Jamaican authorities were considering the possibility of giving Ellis a state funeral.
   
Laurence Cane-Honeysett, Jamaican music consultant for Trojan Records, said the label had been associated with Ellis throughout his career.
   
"He was a genuinely lovely man and his songs were heartfelt," he said.
   
"He was a seminal figure in terms of popularising Jamaican reggae music.
   
"His death is a terrible loss."
   
Jamaican reggae singer Delroy Williams, a friend and colleague since the 1960s, described his voice as "the sweetest in the reggae world".
   
"He was very humble," he said.
   
"His music is the reason for a lot of babies -- that's how sweet and warm and loving it is.
   
"It's just a shame that he didn't get the big world hit that he deserved."
   
Ellis, who lived in the northwest London suburb of Northolt, is survived by his wife and more than 20 children.

Date created : 2008-10-12

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