Jamaican ska pioneer Prince Buster dies aged 78

Ska pioneer and Jamaican music legend Prince Buster has died aged 78, his wife Mola Ali said.

Born Cecil Bustamante Campbell in Kingston in 1938, he became one of the island’s most revered musicians as Prince Buster, performing and producing popular ska bands in the 1960s including The Vikings and the Folkes Brothers.

Music was “his passion, his life”, his wife said.

“He built a studio in the home. Every night he started music at about three or four o’ clock in the afternoon and about three or four at night is when he turned that off,” she said

A prolific musician, he recorded thousands of records, including such hits as Al Capone and Judge Dread.

He helped ignite the ska movement in England and later helped carry it into the rocksteady era in the mid-1960s.

During a ska revival in the late 1970s, British musicians named their band Madness after one of his hit songs.

Prince Buster travelled extensively while performing, and he loved to garden, bringing seeds back home from all over the world.

And he was a devoted husband at home, his wife said.

They had three children during their 47-year marriage, and he also fathered children on the outside, she said – adding she did not know exactly how many.

Prince Buster could not walk after a massive stroke in 2009, but he could still communicate and travel.

He died at a Miami hospital after suffering heart problems.

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