KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaican keyboardist/pianist, Tyrone Downie, known for his work as a member of Bob Marley and The Wailers, died last night in Jamaica on the way to the University Hospital of the West Indies.
At the time of his death, he played with the France-based reggae band called 'Jahzz'.
"Tyrone will be sadly missed, he was a great musician and very important in the music business. He was supposed to be a part of a showcase we had planned for Tuesday of this week, but we knew he was ill and had not planned for him to come, but he passed last night," Michel Jovanovic, a respected reggae music promoter in France, told OBSERVER ONLINE.
Downie produced two albums, one for Tiken Jah Fakoly, which was released last Friday, and another for Jahzz, which will be released on Tuesday with a show in France.
For years, he lived in France with his family where he was a member of the touring band of Youssou N'Dour, whose album Remember he produced. Downie stopped touring almost a decade ago. In May of this year, he played with Jahzz, supporting the Skatalites shows in France.
A Kingston College past student, he joined The Wailers in the mid-1970s, making his recording début with the band on Rastaman Vibration album, having previously been a member of the Impact All Stars.
He has also played with The Abyssinians, Beenie Man, Black Uhuru, Buju Banton, Peter Tosh, Junior Reid, Tom Tom Club, Ian Dury, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Sly & Robbie.
Downie released the solo album Organ-D in 2001.