U-Roy dead: Reggae and dancehall legend dies aged 78
Tributes have flooded in for the late U-Roy on social media today, following the news of his death. The cause has not been made public as of yet. Born Ewart Beckford, the musician rose to fame in the 1960s and is best known for pioneering the vocal style of "toasting" under his stage name U-Roy. He performed over reggae or dancehall beats he created.
Musician Ghostpoet led tributes on Twitter today.
He wrote: "RIP U-Roy. They ain't ready for your toasting in heaven."
Ali Campbell of UB40 referred to the late star as "a true inspiration, [paving] the way for many generations and creating a sound that will live for ever!"
Singer Shaggy added: "Today we lost one of our heroes!!"
A fan commented: "So very sad to hear of the passing of Reggae Legend U-Roy.
"I grew up listening to his music - he will be truly missed."
"I loved this guys records sooo much," a third added. "The first time i heard his records they were a total revolution. So sad to hear he has passed on. The greatest."
U-Roy had his first shot at djing aged 14 after growing up in a musical family in Jamaica.
He previously told United Reggae: "My mother used to say to me, 'Why don't you trim and shave because you will look a much nicer boy?'
"And I used to say, 'Listen mum, I did not tell you not to be a Seventh-Day Adventist. I did not tell you not to play that organ on that choir'.
"I'm going to do what I have to do and I'm not going to disrespect you. But what I believe in is what I believe in'."
He started his professional career performing on the soundsystem owned by Dickie Wong, who ran the Tit for Tat record label and club.
In 1969, he made his first recordings with Keith Hudson, Lee Perry and Peter Tosh.
He got his break a year later after being recognised by John Holt, who he released the album Version Galore with.
The latter witnessed U-Roy DJing and toasting over his song Wear You to the Ball and encouraged Duke Reid to work with him.
They went on to release the hits Wake the Town, Rule the Nation and Wear You to the Ball.
Throughout his career, he released 20 records and contributed to Toots and Maytals' album True Love.
In 2007, he was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his contribution to music.
In 2019, he recorded a new album titled Gold: The Man Who Invented Rap, which is planned to be released this summer.
Collaborators included Sly and Robbie, Zak Starkey on guitar and guest appearances from the likes of; Mick Jones of the Clash, Santigold, Shaggy and Ziggy Marley.