Lloyd Knibb, the drummer for iconic ska pioneers the Skatalites, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.
Knibb's wife, Edna, confirmed in a press release that the percussionist passed away on Thursday (May 12) from liver cancer. She said that Knibb had been receiving treatment for the illness in the U.S., but had returned to Jamaica this week.
Knibb was an original member of the Skatalites, who formed in Jamaica in 1964. The band were instrumental in helping shape the ska genre, and Knibb's frenetic, upbeat drumming style was paramount to their sound. Their adaptation of the theme to The Guns of Navarone is a genre classic. The band had broken up in 1965, but got back together in the early '80s and have been playing together ever since.
The Skatalites were nominated for a Grammy for Best Reggae Album twice, for 1994's Hi-Bop Ska and 1996's Greetings from Skamania.
Despite his illness, Knibb last played with the Skatalites this past April. He is survived by his wife, five children, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild.