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Minister Grange saddened by the passing of Reggae Singer, Jimmy Riley



Ministry of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment | 2016-03-23 00:00:00

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, says she was deeply saddened by the news that veteran Jamaican singer, Jimmy Riley, died in New York.

The Minister said that her long association with Riley and their close professional relationship made the news extremely heartrending. She said that she was sure that the entire entertainment community is grief stricken.

Minister Grange said that the passing of this talented singer/songwriter, musician is a tremendous loss to Jamaica and the world as through his lyrics and professionalism he impacted the lives of many. “While we are saddened by Jimmy’s passing, we must never forget the contribution that he has made to reggae music. We must continue to be inspired by his work and the strength he showed while he battled a terrible illness,” she said.

After losing his battle against cancer, Jimmy passed away with his children and family at his side. He was born Martin James Norman Riley in 1954 in Kingston and although he formed the Sensations and was a leading member of the Uniques, which was led by the late Slim Smith, he was also very popular as a solo artiste with hits including- ‘Love & Devotion’, ‘Rougher Yet’, ‘My Woman’s Love’ and ‘Black Mother’s Prayers’.

Minister Grange has also expressed her condolences to the family and friends of Jimmy Riley, as well as members of the music fraternity, while highlighting the rich musical legacy which he has left behind.

Riley was also the father of reggae star, Tarrus Riley. He nurtured the development of his son’s early career, which has propelled him into one of the most internationally acclaimed reggae artists. 

Having been in treatment for the past year and half, his family recalled the incredible strength and bravery that Jimmy Riley displayed throughout his illness. He was always optimistic and had faith that he was going to make it. In fact, he passed peacefully with a smile on his face. His family wishes to thank everyone for their support and prayers during this time of grief.

Further details will be announced at a later date.




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