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Music fraternity mourns Jimmy Riley

Published:Thursday | March 24, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
File Jimmy Riley
Contributed Tarrus Riley

The music fraternity is mourning the loss of yet another of their number after news emerged yesterday that reggae singer Jimmy Riley had died. Reports are that Riley passed away in Florida on Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer.

He was 68 years old. Tributes have been pouring in as entertainers and music industry insiders offer their condolences to the late singer's family.

Among the first to reach out was singer Alaine Laughton. Alaine, who has done a song with Jimmy Riley's son, Tarrus Riley, took to Instagram to show her support. "Sending sincere condolences to @tarrusrileyja for the loss of his father. Only God knows the pain we feel and only God will heal it," she wrote.

Reggae group Third World, who lost their lead singer, Bunny Rugs, in 2014, also took to social media to offer their condolences. "So saddened to hear about the passing of our brother Jimmy Riley," their Instagram post read. "Heartfelt condolences to his family, including his son Tarrus Riley, and his musical family. The Spirit Lives. Jah Bless his soul," it continued.


Taurus Riley's band leader and renowned saxophonist, Dean Fraser, remembered the late singer for his contribution to Jamaica's music industry.

"Jimmy Riley one of the best, brought a lot of soul to our music," he wrote in a post on Facebook.

Sanchez, Cedella Marley, Rita Marley, Sean Paul, Trinidadian soca star Bunji Garlin and dancehall artistes Chi Ching Ching and Vanessa Bling were among the other entertainers who used social media to share words of encouragement with Tarrus Riley. In response to the love and support he has been receiving in light of his father's passing, Taurus Riley posted this message to his social media pages: "Jah Jah run tings so I nuh need fi worry. Give thanks for all blessings seen and unseen from this time forth."

Jimmy Riley was born Martin James Ziggy Norman Riley on May 22, 1954. He is more popularly known for his work as a solo act, but was a part of groups such as The Sensations and The Uniques in the earlier parts of his career.

Riley recorded several popular songs, Black Mother Pray and Love and Devotion among the most well-known, and worked-with top producers such as Sly and Robbie. Among their collaborations, Jimmy and Tarrus Riley recorded Stronger and Pull Up Selector. An acoustic version of Black Mother Pray with father and son singing together is on Tarrus' Mecoustic album,