Desmond Dekker passes away

The reggae legend dies suddenly

Desmond Dekker has died suddenly from a heart attack.

The reggae legend collapsed at his Surrey home, his manager has said.

Best known for his 1969 hit ‘Israelites’, the Jamaican singer was 64 years old.

Delroy Williams, Dekker’s manager, said that the star had seemed fine when they met the previous day, saying: “It is such a shock. I don’t think I will ever get over this.”

He added: “Desmond was the first legend, believe it or not. When he released Israelites nobody had heard of Bob Marley – he paved the way for all of them.”

According to BBC News, following his last concert at Leeds University on May 11, Dekker was set to play at Prague’s Respect Festival on June 2 as well as several summer dates across Europe.

“He was at his peak fitness, he had this big tour coming up for this summer and he was looking forward to it – and then that was it,” Williams said. “He died peacefully but it still hurts. I was his manager and his best friend. I don’t think anyone knew how close we were – we go back so far.

“I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye properly.”

Born on July 16, 1941 in Kingston, Jamaica, Dekker hit number one in the UK charts with ‘Israelites’ as well as reaching the US top ten. The singer also found success in the 1970’s after moving to the UK and recording the Jimmy Cliff-penned ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’.

After being declared bankrupt in 1984, a new version of ‘Israelites’ was released in the 1990s, giving a boost to the star’s popularity.

Dekker leaves a son by his ex-wife.