Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Byron Lee dies in hospital

Byron Lee dies in hospital

Posted: 2008-11-04 12:38:52 (The Jamaica Gleaner)
Calypso Musician Byron Lee has died in hospital after a long battle with cancer.

The leader of the world-famous band, Byron Lee and the Dragonnaires was hospitalised at the Tony Thwaites Wing of the University Hospital of the West Indies, after being flown home two weeks ago.

Lee, who was 73, had been fighting transitional cell cancer and was being treated in Miami Florida.

He was also diagnosed with bladder cancer two years ago.

Just last Sunday, he was conferred with the Order of Jamaica for outstanding service to the music industry in a special ceremony at the hospital.

Lee had been previously conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander in 2007.

Lee was born in Manchester on June 27, 1935 to parents Oscar Lee and Evelyn Chung-Lee.

He was educated at Mount St Joseph School in Mandeville, where he learnt music then later at St George’s College in Kingston.

He became bandleader of Byron lee and the Dragonaires in 1956, with the band’s first record being released in 1960.

He was the first person to promote live Jamaican music in North America and also introduced carnival to Jamaica.

Other awards Lee received include the Silver Musgrave medal for his contribution to music in 1978 and the institute of Jamaica centenary medal for the development of music in Jamaica in 1981.

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