Entertainment: Artiste deaths that moved the world

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 00:00 |
Bob Marley. Photo/Courtesy

Elly Gitau

Bob Marley:No one can ever dispute that Jamaican singer-songwriter Robert Nesta Marley is not the King of Reggae. His contributions to music increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide, and made him a global figure in popular culture for over a decade.

In July 1977, Marley was found to have a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of a toe.

He later died on May 11, 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.” He received a state funeral in Jamaica and buried in a chapel near his birthplace with his guitar. 

John De’Mathew: Kenyan Kikuyu benga singer John De’Mathew’s remains were interred on Saturday in Gatanga, Murang’a county in a solemn event attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, among other dignitaries. His death on the night of August 18, 2019, following a fatal road accident on Thika Road, sent shock waves among his fans and the Kenyan music fraternity. He was 52.

E-Sir: Sixteen years on, rapper Issah Mmari aka E-Sir is still regarded as Kenya’s greatest lyricist of all-time. His deft lyrical ability and command of the Kiswahili language disproved the myth that Kenyan music could never compete with foreign pop that ruled the airwaves then.

He was only 21 years old when a fatal car accident along Nakuru-Nairobi highway on March 16, 2003, brought untimely end to his glittering career. He was from a show in Nakuru’s Club Dimples with label mate Nameless. 

John Lenon: For rock music lovers, John Lennon’s shooting on December 8, 1980, was a great loss. The English singer-songwriter — who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the rock band Beatles — was just 40.

Beatles are the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. Lenon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman in the archway of his Manhattan apartment in New York City.

Michael Jackson: Known as the King of Pop and one of the greatest musicians of all-time, the American singer-songwriter and dancer passed away on June 25, 2009.

His 1882 album, Thriller, is the best selling album of all time. It was awarded 30 times platinum at the beginning of 2016. His 1983 music video, Billie Jean, was the first music from black artiste to be aired on MTV.

The Notorious B.I.G.: Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. was an American rapper widely considered as one of the greatest rappers ever. His debut album of 1994, Ready to Die, made him a central figure in East Coast hip-hop and increased New York City’s visibility in the genre.

He was heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip-hop feud in 1996. On March 9, 1997, he was killed aged 24 in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. 

Tupac Shakur: Regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, Tupac used his harsh growing up in Harlem, New York City, to fuel his work and became part of the famed ‘East Coast-West Coast’ rap wars of the early 90s.

He was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, while driving to his hotel from a Mike Tyson bout alongside fellow rapper Suge Knight. He succumbed to his wounds six days later in hospital at only 25. 

Elvis Presley: Many people still consider the American musician and actor as the greatest rock musician ever. Known as ‘The King of Rock’, he was mostly known for his number one singles including Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock and Love me Tender. Presley died on August 16, 1977, of a heart attack from an overdose of drugs and junk food.

Lucky Dube: South African Lucky Dube’s music career spanned 25 years. He’s the country’s biggest-selling reggae artiste. His fans world over were thrown into sorrow after his murder in the Johannesburg township called KwaThema on the evening of October 18, 2007. Five men were arrested in connection with the murder; three were tried and found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to life in prison. 

Whitney Houston: Whitney’s death on February 11, 2012 was a shock to music fans world over. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certifications. She was found dead in the Beverly Hilton in California. A report showed she had drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors.

More on Lifestyle