UPDATED with Cause of Death: R.I.P., Lloyd Knibb, Skatalites Drummer

UPDATED, May 13, 9:51 a.m.:

Lloyd Knibb's wife Enid said her husband died from liver cancer late Thursday.

According to the Associated Press, "Knibb had been receiving treatment in the U.S. but returned to Jamaica this week. Knibb's manager, Ken Stewart, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that he was accompanying Knibb on the trip back to the Caribbean island. 'I can only hope we make it back so he can enjoy his family and friends and see his homeland one more time,' he wrote."

Stewart later updated his Facebook page: "I am sorry some of you are finding this out before I could post it but at 6:40 p.m. I noticed Lloyd was not breathing. He was sleeping peacefully moments before with all of us here. He got his wish to come home but it seems it took all he had to do it. We will keep you informed about arrangements. Long Love The King."

The Skatalites were scheduled to perform at the Ink N Iron Festival in Long Beach, set from June 10 to 12.

UPDATED, May 13, 12:28 a.m.: Culture Beat Performing Arts Center in Ensenada, Mexico, where the Skatalites were supposed to perform on May 27, just confirmed Lloyd Knibb's passing.

Original post: Skatalites Drummer Lloyd Knibb Reported to Have Passed Away, May 12, 11:24 p.m.: Condolences are pouring in on Facebook for Lloyd Knibb, legendary drummer of The Skatalites.

According to a comment on the Skatalites Facebook page, Knibb died today in Jamaica at 6:40 p.m. around friends and family. He was 80 years old.

Knibb is credited for inventing the ska beat at Coxson Dodd's Studio One. He played his last show in Peru about a month ago.

Knibb was born on March 8, 1931 in Jamaica, and was best known for his contribution to ska rhythms.

He played for The Skatalites and for Tommy McCook & The Supersonics. Knibb started out playing in jazz bands in the 1940s, starting with the Val Bennett band and developing technical skills in the jazz band of Eric Dean, playing popular dances of the day (rumba, cha cha) as well as Glen Miller songs.

In a 1998 interview with Carter Van Pelt and Dan Batman, Knibb explained how it all began: "Yea man, that's where it started, rhythm n' blues. And then the music change. Coxson call me in the studio one day and say 'Lloydie, I wan change the beat you know? Find a beat.' Allright, I go inna the studio and I start some different different beat. "

As the Skatalites drummer, he gained the most exposure, recording for the Treasure Isle (Duke Reid), Studio One (Clement Dodd) and Top Deck (Phillip Yap) labels.

The Bishops posted, "Wake the town and tell the people, one of the greats has passed over. Much love and respect to Lloyd Knibb, one of the creators of the everlasting sound and founding members of The Skatalites - Jamaican Reggae. RIP Lloyd (1931 - 2011). It was an honor to have met and shared a stage with you, sir, your beat lives on and on..."

Ska Parade founder Tazy Phyllipz wrote, "RIP Lloyd Knibbs, Order Of Distinction. You will be missed! Much Respect!"

We are waiting for confirmation from the Skatalites management regarding Knibb's passing.

Follow OC Weekly's music blog, Heard Mentality on Twitter @ocweeklymusic and like us on Facebook!


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >