Guitarist Lloyd 'Gitsy' Willis passes awayTuesday, October 19, 2021
BY BRIAN BONITTO
VENERABLE session guitarist Lloyd “Gitsy” Willis passed away while undergoing treatment a St Catherine medical facility yesterday.
He was 73 years old.
His widow, Shakira, said her husband has had issues with his kidneys for more than two years.
“I usually take him two to three times per week to do his dialysis. He died while he was on the machine,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
She described her husband as a wonderful human being.
“He's one of the sweetest persons you ever met. Very playful — he loved his music, loved his peace of mind, but he's one of the sweetest persons you can ever meet. Always creating music,” she added.
Reggae singer Pliers (given name Everton Bonner) also remembers the guitarist for his jovial personality and professionalism.
“He was a great musician; one of Jamaica's best guitarists. He always smiling and was a very jovial person. Him always ah smile... You know dem beautiful, loving, caring Jamaican? In the studio he would be on his guitar doing his work... People all ask him fi play fi dem and dem nuh have no money, he'd just play,” said Pliers, who is one-half of the duo Chaka Demus and Pliers.
Pliers said he last spoke to Willis some time last week.
“He wanted me to do some work on a project he had. He wanted me to do a cover of Billy Preston's Never Gonna Say Goodbye. Mi say: 'Any time yuh ready, Gitsy.' I knew he had kidney problems but he sounded bright and healthy. I never expected this,” Pliers added.
According to Pliers, the Kingstonian-born Willis played on several of the duo's hit songs, including Murder She Wrote, Twist and Shout, I Wanna Be Your Man, and She Don't Let Nobody. He is also credited as co-producer of Pliers's version of Bam Bam.
“He was like a brother to me,” Pliers added.
In addition to his wife, Shakira, Willis is survived by a son, Lloyd Jr.