'Funky Drummer' Clyde Stubblefield dies at 73

Clyde Stubblefield, the drummer for James Brown who created one of the world’s most widely sampled drum breaks, has died at the age of 73.

His wife, Jody Hannon, said that he passed away after a 10-year battle with kidney disease on Saturday at a Wisconsin hospital.

Clyde was best known for his solo on James Brown’s 1970 single, Funky Drummer, which Rolling Stone magazine said has been sampled on over 1,000 songs, including Ed Sheeran’s Shirtsleeves and George Michael’s Freedom ’90.

He performed on a number of the singer’s classics through the 1960s and 70s, including Cold Sweat, Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud, and the album Sex Machine.

Jody explained how he was held in high esteem by his fellow musicians, adding that he was Prince’s favourite drummer and that the artist personally paid 90,000 US dollars to help cover medical Clyde’s bills in 2000.

Describing him as “a very nice southern gentleman” from Chattanooga, Tennessee, she said he had lived in her hometown of Madison since the early 1970s.

He had became a familiar and long-standing face on the local music scene after “falling in love with it,” she said.

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