Kandré McDonald, Freelance Writer
The three-man singing group, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, is seen before departing on a tour of the United Kingdom, New York, Germany and Ireland, at the Palisadoes Airport. From left are Winston Samuels, the leader, Desmond Dekker, and Easton Howard. - FILE
DESMOND ADOLPHUS Dacres, more widely known around the globe as Desmond Dekker, is dead. The ska artiste, who was born on July 17, 1941, in Jamaica, died in the United Kingdom at 4:00 a.m. Thursday.
According to his manager, Delroy Williams, Dekker, who is known for songs such as Israelites, Shanty Town, It Mek, Writing on the Wall and Unity, was not ill prior to his death. "He was not sick; he simply died suddenly this morning from an heart attack," he said when contacted by The Gleaner yesterday.
NO SIGNS OF SICKNESS
Mr. Dekker was also the winner of the National Song Competition in 1968 with his entry Intensified.
When The Gleaner spoke with Lorna Dekker, the sister of the late entertainer, she also explained that he was not sick prior to his death, although he complained of being tired.
"He wasn't sick; he just got a heart attack and died suddenly. The last time I spoke with him was last Friday just after he returned from a tour in Germany. At that time, he was saying that he was tired," she said.
Derrick Morgan, a close friend of Dekker and the person partially responsible for Dekker's introduction to the world after they recorded Honour Your Mother and Father, also reiterated this notion.
"I was speaking with his sister last Friday and she told me he called and was complaining that he was very tired. He is a man that work everyday of the week and has many shows line up so that is understandable," Mr. Morgan outlined.
Desmond Dekker was probably the best-known Jamaican musician outside of Jamaica before the ascent of Bob Marley in the '70s. In 1968, Israelites topped the U.K. charts and reached the top 10 on United States charts. Mr. Dekker was also the first Jamaican performer to enter U.S. markets with pure Jamaican music, a feat he was never able to repeat throughout his career.
According to his sister, it has not been ascertained as to where Mr. Dekker will be buried as some of his family members may still not be aware of his death.
"I am not sure where he is going to be buried. I will be talking to his daughter who is in England tomorrow (today), so we can decide where he is going to be buried. I am also sorry that some of his relatives had to hear about his death over the radio," she said.
Desmond Dekker has left behind a daughter and a son, other family and friends. According to his official website, desmonddekker.com he is booked until November 18. He had show dates in Poland, Belgium, London, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Czech, Ireland, Switzerland and several other countries.