KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Lloyd Brevett, a renowned double bassist who helped carry ska music from Jamaica to the world as a founding member of the hugely influential band The Skatalites, died Thursday at age 80.
Family spokeswoman and close friend Maxine Stowe said Brevett died shortly before dawn at a Kingston hospital where he was being treated for seizures and complications from a recent stroke.
The pioneering musician suffered a debilitating stroke in March, two weeks after his son, Okine, 32, was murdered by gunmen outside the family's home in the rough Seaview Gardens area of Kingston.
He was gunned down a couple of hours after accepting a reggae industry award for his father's musical contributions.
"He took his son's death as stoically as he could, but you knew it was devastating for him," said Stowe, a music industry veteran who helped set up a fund to help Brevett's family pay for his medical bills. "He deteriorated rapidly after that."
Brevett was an original member of The Skatalites, which began in 1964 during the evolution of Jamaican music from American influenced rhythm-and-blues and jazz to the homegrown syncopated style of ska, the precursor of reggae, rock steady and dub.
During the first 14 months the band was together, members transformed jazz, movie themes like "Guns of Navarone" and other types of music with the up-tempo shuffle style they invented.
They played as studio musicians on numerous records and backed up groups including the early Wailers.
The band broke up in the mid-1960s, but regrouped in New York two decades later. Two of their albums, "Hip Bop Ska" and "Greetings from Skamania," were nominated for Grammy Awards in the 1990s.
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, who was once a tour manager for The Skatalites, said that while the band's great horn section often drew most of the accolades, it was "Brevett who quietly provided the mesmerizing backbone to the Skatalites' sound."
"To say that Brevett was a creator of both ska and dub is not to use hyperbole," Patterson said in a statement.
Stowe said Brevett had dual U.S.-Jamaican citizenship and was a longtime resident of Newark, N.J.