COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX) - Columbia native and former Prince drummer John Blackwell, Jr. has died, according to his Instagram account.
Blackwell, who performed with Prince for 15 years, was considered a master drummer and was known for his unique style of drumming.
Blackwell continued to play all over the world until it was discovered he had two brain tumors while in Japan playing the Blue Note Tokyo.
Since that diagnosis, Blackwell changed his focus to undergoing surgeries and fighting to survive.
Blackwell said last fall Prince was like a father figure to him and recruited him to play with him. He said a dear friend had recently told him that he could just imagine Prince calling for him to play even in heaven. Blackwell laughed saying, "I can hear Prince now say 'I'll just call John.' No you ain't! I don't want to do that gig. Not yet."
In addition to Prince, Blackwell performed with Justin Timberlake and Patty LaBelle among many others.
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