John Blackwell Jr.
Drummer John Blackwell Jr.Instagram/ John Blackwell Jr.

Prolific drummer John Blackwell Jr., who worked closely with late singer Prince, died on Tuesday after a long battle with brain tumour. He was 43.

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Blackwell's wife Yaritza shared the news on her husband's Instagram account along with a photo of them holding hands. She wrote, "My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way peacefully in my company today. Thanks God for his life and thanks everyone for their support."

The late drummer was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and the condition caused paralysis to his left arm and leg.

Blackwell performed with Prince for nearly 15 years. He also played on two of his releases in 2003, the instrumental N.E.W.S. album and the Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas DVD.

To him, Prince was a like father figure, and he told Tampa TV station WTSP-TV last year, "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."

Blackwell's fellow musicians took to social media to pay tribute to the late drummer.