Former drummer for Prince and Justin Timberlake dies at 43

John Blackwell Jr. played drums on two Prince releases.
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John Blackwell Jr., a drummer for music icons such as Prince and Justin Timberlake, died Tuesday after a yearlong struggle with his health. He was 43 years old.

His wife, Yaritza Blackwell, shared the news of his passing on Instagram:

According to Billboard, Blackwell Jr. performed for two Prince releases, the album N.E.W.S. and the DVD Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas. He worked with Prince for more than a decade and also played drums for Justin Timberlake on a live tour, as well as Patti LaBelle in the late '90s.

One year ago, he was hospitalized in Japan with what doctors believed was a brain tumor. Yaritza Blackwell has been chronicling his health battles since then via GoFundMe, with well-wishers donating nearly $80,000 to help.

This year he'd been moved from intensive care, to different hospitals, to rehab facilities. In recent weeks had been dealing with breathing problems.

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