Jimmy Riley left a legacy ...entertainers say reggae artiste's death was unexpected

March 24, 2016
Jimmy Riley
File Tommy Cowan
Tony Rebel
Beres Hammond

Following the tragic passing of iconic reggae singer Jimmy Riley, several members of the reggae fraternity have offered their condolences to his family members as they reflect on his life.

The reggae star, whose real name was Martin James Norman Riley, died last Tuesday at age 68 in the United States, after a gritty battle with cancer.

When news broke of his death, many persons weighed in on the untimely passing.

"Myself and Jimmy Riley, we go back many decades," recalled Tommy Cowan. "Jimmy has always been a very nice person. Very courteous, very accommodating, and he's one of those persons I have never really encountered any aggression with. He was almost like a gentle giant."

Cowan also remembered Riley for his kind words and gentility, adding that his son, Tarrus Riley, is now left to carry on his legacy.

"Tarrus has grown out of Jimmy, in other words, Jimmy has passed it on. Jimmy's success, is really in his successor. That is true success," he told THE WEEKEND STAR.




For reggae artiste Sizzla, Jimmy Riley was remembered as a father figure.

"Send a thousand condolences from Sizzla and the Judgement Yard family, Jimmy Riley a mi father, man," he said, adding that Riley mentored him during his early days in reggae music.

Another reggae veteran, Beres Hammond was equally distraught as news broke of Riley's passing.

"You know when you don't expect certain things, and it happens? More time, you just out of words," said Hammond, who was Riley's close friend. "We knew he was sick, but we always remained optimistic and hoped that he would come around,"

He added, "He was a nice guy. I am happy that I got to share a little moment of his life with him. May his soul rest in peace."

Meanwhile, a thoughtful Tony Rebel recounted that he shared a close friendship with Riley up until his death. So close were the two, that persons would sometimes mistake them for each other, he said.

"A mi real brethren. Everywhere them say me and him a brother. I remember when my picture came in the paper and them saying is Jimmy Riley picture came in the paper," he said. "He's just a fun brethren. A serious brethren with music. I remember a book he loaned me in the '90s called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. After that, I produced a song for him called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Is a man that reads a lot. It's a smart youth. I want to send condolences to Tarrus and the whole family. He is one of the icons from long time."

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