The announcement of the passing of 43-year-old John Blackwell Jr. was made by his wife, Yaritza, on Tuesday in a post on his Instagram account. The moving photo shows her holding Blackwell’s hand as he passed. Yaritza’s caption read that her husband, the incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr., had passed away peacefully in her company that day. She went on to thank God for his life and his fans for their support. Blackwell had played with the late Prince for 15 years.

Prince's drummer diagnosed with brain tumors

Based in Florida, Blackwell had been diagnosed with brain tumors back in 2016. The tumors badly affected his use of his left leg and arm. Last summer Blackwell enrolled in an intensive therapy treatment at the rehabilitation center at Tampa General Hospital to enable him to walk again.

People reports that at the time, Blackwell told 10 News that at first he was lazy about the therapy and didn’t want to go, but then something told him if he wants to get back on the drums, he had to go to therapy.

Four months ago a GoFundMe account was set up to help cover his medical expenses while he was unable to continue working. The Hollywood Reporter says around $79,000 was raised by the fund.

Blackwell started drumming at the age of three

Blackwell took up the drums when he was just three years of age and went on to play with the legendary R&B singer Patti LaBelle.

In 2000 he joined Prince’s band, The New Power Generation. The drummer has also reportedly performed with Justin Timberlake. Watch Blackwell at work in the video included here.

Tributes pour in on social media from fellow musicians and fans

As soon as the tragic news about Blackwell's passing hit Instagram, fellow musicians and fans began posting tributes on social media. Morris Day, who also played with Prince, wrote that they had lost a brother, adding that Blackwell and went on to send out prayers to his wife and family.

Travis Barker of Blink-182 sent a message to say Blackwell's legend will live forever, adding that he was one of the best to ever pick up drumsticks. He also sent prayers to Blackwell's family and friends.

As noted by Entertainment Weekly, bassist Nik West went to Instagram and Twitter to say the late Prince now had his favorite drummer with him.

Bootsy Collins, musician, and singer-songwriter, posted on Twitter to say they had lost a good friend and an amazing drummer while sending prayers and love to Blackwell's family.

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