Tyrone Downie, Pianist Of Bob Marley And The Wailers, Dies At Age 66

Legendary Jamaican keyboardist and pianist for Bob Marley and The Wailers, Tyrone Downie has passed away at the age of 66.
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Legendary Jamaican keyboardist and pianist for Bob Marley and The Wailers, Tyrone Downie has passed away at the age of 66.

The pivotal member of The Wailers, Tyrone Downie, died late Saturday night after being rushed to a Jamaican hospital in Kingston and pronounced dead.

At the time of his death, Downie played with France-based reggae band ‘Jahzz’.He recently 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 concert in Paris, France.

Tyrone Downie played a significant role in the Jamaican entertainment industry as a Pianist and composer of background vocals during his tenure as a Keyboardist and Pianist.

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However, in announcing his death, The Wailers used social media, posting an official statement on the organist/Facebook keyboardist’s page but did not give a cause of death.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart from the news that The Wailers’ own keyboard player, brother, and friend Tyrone Downie passed away today. Tyrone joined The Wailers just before the age of 20, making his recording début with the band on Rastaman Vibration. When you hear the keys on Three Little Birds [and many others hits], you should always think of Tyrone. The Wailers and friends would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to Tyrone’s family. Rest in Power Tyrone. #RestinPower #TyroneDownie,” the statement read.

Tyrone appeared on every studio album released by Bob Marley after Live!, including Rastaman Vibration, Exodus, and Kaya. Following Marley’s death in 1981, he remained a member of The Wailers, touring Europe and the United States.

He was also credited as an Attributed Artist on the album Legend: The Best of Bob Marley, while also doing background vocals and playing keyboards, guitar (Bass), percussion, and bass. 

He also played multiple gigs with Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Black Uhuru, Peter Tosh, Junior Reid, Tom Tom Club, Ian Dury, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Sly & Robbie among others.

Downie studied at Kingston College and joined The Wailers in the mid-1970s, making his recording début with the band on Rastaman Vibration, having previously been a member of the Impact All Stars.

He released his first debut solo album, dubbed Organ-D, in 2001. He was never married but left behind nine children, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

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