Frankie Paul, one of the biggest foundation acts in dancehall music, has died at the tender age of 52.
The entertainer, whose real name was Paul Blake, passed away at the University Hospital of West Indies (UHWI) Thursday night after being admitted there last month due to longstanding kidney problems. He had been on dialysis two days a week, while friends were assisting him with paying off a seven-figure hospital bill racked up during treatment.
The singer was a pioneer in Jamaican music and was dubbed by some as Jamaica’s version of the iconic Stevie Wonder due to the fact he was blind since birth, but possessed superb vocal ability. He would not have become a musician if not for Wonder, who he met as a child while attending Salvation Army School for the Blind. Wonder, who was in the island for a show at the time, encouraged Paul to become a professional singer after noticing his talent and he did not look back.
Frankie Paul was known for a string of hits in the 1980s and 90s including Casanova, I Know The Score, Stuck on You and countless others. His delivery and classic tone made him a revered figure in the industry and he released over 50 albums in his career.
He lived a portion of his life in the African country of The Gambia, where he became a beloved figure.
In January of last year, Frankie had his foot and part of his right leg amputated, but would still perform shows while in a wheelchair and record despite his restrictions.