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JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange has expressed sadness at the passing of Jamaican music legend, Alton Ellis.
Ellis lost his long-running battle with lymphatic cancer and died on Friday at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, where he had been undergoing treatment.
Minister Grange said Jamaica had lost another musical giant and called on the nation to join her in remembering a true pioneer.
She said Alton’s passing closes the final chapter in a life punctuated by challenges and triumphs.
She called on the nation to celebrate Alton’s life in the spirit he lived it.
“While we are saddened by Alton’s passing, we must never forget the tremendous joy he gave us. His music invoked a positive vibe which gave us the zest for life. We must continue to be inspired by his work and his bravery even as he battled a terrible illness.”
Minister Grange was responsible for flying Alton Ellis home to Jamaica earlier this year, when she arranged for his appearance at the Rocksteady Reunion documentary concert at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
Mister Grange said: “When he came home this year we talked and he had such a firm determination to go on. He was responding well to treatment and he had a very positive outlook. He gave one of the performances of his life at the Rocksteady Reunion concert where he prayed for Jamaica and demonstrated his spiritual and religious growth. Alton will be missed but his hallmarks: Dedication, creativity, determination and passion for music will remain.”
With smash hits like “Girl I’ve Got A Date”, “Dance Crasher”, “Muriel” and “I’m Just A Guy”, Alton Ellis was revered within the Jamaican music industry. He was widely regarded as the Godfather of Rocksteady and was lauded for his pioneering work in songwriting and the establishment of a standard for original Jamaican music.
He began his career in the late 1950s, before Jamaican music had earned a worldwide following, and recorded for many local producers before launching his own All-tone label.
He moved to Canada and then to England in the 1970s as his career went into decline, but he returned to popularity in the last 15 years because of the rocksteady resurgence in Jamaica and Europe.
Minister Grange expressed condolences to Alton Ellis’ family and his legion of fans. He is survived by his wife and children.