Jamaican Grammy-Winning Bassist Robbie Shakespeare Dies at Age 68

Renowned Jamaican reggae bassist Robbie Shakespeare of the Sly and Robbie due died on Dec. 8 at the age of 68.

“I am in shock and sorrow after just receiving the news that my friend and brother, the legendary bassist Robbie Shakespeare has died,” Jamaican Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia Grange announced in a statement.

“Robbie’s loss will be felt by the industry at home and abroad. He will be sorely missed,” Grange also said.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness also paid tribute, saying on Twitter, “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.”

Shakespeare had been undergoing surgery related to his kidneys and was in a hospital in Florida, the Jamaican Gleaner reported.

Shakespeare had been nominated for 13 Grammys in his music career and won twice.

A 2011 documentary “Reggae Got Soul: The Story of Toots and the Maytals” described duo Sly and Robbie as “one of the most influential artists ever to come out of Jamaica.”

In 2020, Rolling Stone placed Shakespeare at 17 in its list of greatest bassists of all time.

As a duo, Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar worked with several prominent artists including Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and Madonna.


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