Prince's longtime drummer, Columbia native John Blackwell, Jr. d - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Prince's longtime drummer, Columbia native John Blackwell, Jr. dead at 43

John Blackwell, Jr. in a 2016 interview. (Source: WIS) John Blackwell, Jr. in a 2016 interview. (Source: WIS)
(WIS) -

The longtime drummer for the late music icon Prince, John Blackwell Jr. passed away on Tuesday following a battle with cancer, according to People magazine

Blackwell, Jr. was 43 years old. 

In a post on Blackwell's Instagram account, his wife Yaritza confirmed his death in a photo holding his hand. 

"My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way peacefully in my company today. Thank God for his life and thanks to everyone for their support. Yaritza," the post reads. 

A GoFundMe account in support of Blackwell's medical treatment says the drummer was being treated for brain tumors. He was being treated in Japan. 

Blackwell, Jr. played drums for Prince for 15 years as well as performed with other musical acts. In addition to Prince, Blackwell, Jr. also performed with Cameo, Patti LaBelle, and The New Power Generation. 

Prior to his treatment in Japan, he spent a lot of time in and out of Florida hospitals for treatment

A number of celebrities sent well wishes to Blackwell's family through condolences on social media. 

Blackwell, Jr. was born on Sept. 9, 1973, in Columbia and began playing the drums at the age of 3. He was a graduate of Keenan High School. 

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