Tyrone Downie, Keyboardist For Bob Marley And The Wailers, Dies

Tyrone Downie, the Jamaica-born keyboardist for Bob Marley and the Wailers, died Saturday. He was 66.

His companion, Bernadine Simpson, informed Jamaican outlet The Gleaner that Downie “was feeling ill” on Saturday night. He died en path to the College Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, The Jamaica Observer reported. Downie’s reason for demise stays unknown.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Wailers keyboardist, Tyrone Downie,” tweeted the Marley-founded Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston. “Tyrone joined The Wailers just before the age of 20, making his recording début with the band on Rastaman Vibration. We are blessed to count him as a member of the Tuff Gong Family.”

Downie joined the Wailers in 1974, almost a decade after it was shaped by Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. He contributed to its most well-known songs — “Redemption Song” and “Three Little Birds” — and helped “Rastaman Vibration” turn into its highest-charting album, in line with Individuals. It was The Wailers’ solely album to breach the highest 10 of the Billboard 200.

Born within the Jamaican capital on Could 20, 1956, Downie attended Kingston Faculty and sang with the chapel choir, in line with Billboard.

He was a member of the band the Caribs earlier than Marley “came and took him” away, Jackie Jackson, the band’s bass participant, recalled to The Gleaner.

Downie moved to France within the Nineteen Nineties earlier than returning to residence to Kingston.

David Corio by way of Getty Pictures

“Tyrone said he wanted to talk to me and that’s when he told me that Bob wanted him to play with the Wailers,” Jackson informed the outlet. “I was sad to see him go, but I was happy for him. If a man like Bob come and want yuh to play for him, yuh can’t seh ’no.’”

Downie went on to play with the Wailers for 5 consecutive albums: “Exodus” (1977), “Kaya” (1978), “Survival” (1980), “Uprising” (1980) and “Confrontation” (1983). The latter marked the group’s closing outing, as Marley had died from pores and skin most cancers two years earlier at age 36.

Downie went on to play with a flurry of different teams, together with The Abyssinians, Beenie Man, Junior Reid and Sly & Robbie. A lot of his work was employed on the silver display screen, together with in “Slaves of New York” and “The Mighty Quinn.”

Downie moved to France within the Nineteen Nineties and produced songs for artists together with Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour earlier than returning to Kingston. Downie launched “Organ-D” — his nickname and solely solo album — in 2001.

In 2010, Jamaica-born mannequin, singer and actor Grace Jones revealed that her 1983 music “My Jamaican Guy” was about him.

“I couldn’t have him because he was with somebody else,” Jones informed The Guardian. “He was a beautiful guy. He doesn’t even know I wrote it about him. Well, he’ll know now.”

Downie is survived by 9 kids, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“Tyrone Downie will be remembered as one of the significant contributors to Reggae music,” Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Tradition, informed the Observer. “We echo the sentiments that were expressed by singer Grace Jones, Tyrone Downie was ‘Our Jamaican Guy.’ We will miss the man and his music.”