Tyrone Downie, The Wailers’ Keyboardist, Died At The Age Of 66.


Tyrone Downie, a pianist and producer best known as a member of Bob Marley & The Wailers, died Saturday (Nov. 5) in Kingston, Jamaica, following a brief illness. He was 66.


Downie has also played with The Abyssinians, Beenie Man, Black Uhuru, Buju Banton, Peter Tosh, Junior Reid, Tom Tom Club, Ian Dury, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly, and Sly & Robbie, in addition to the Wailers.

“We are devastated to learn of the demise of Wailers keyboardist, Tyrone Downie,” says a statement from Marley’s Tuff Gong studio in Kingston. Tyrone joined The Wailers shortly before turning 20 and made his recording debut with them on Rastaman Vibration. We consider ourselves fortunate to have him as a part of the Tuff Gong Family.”


Several of Downie’s songs were used in films, including 1989’s Slaves of New York and The Mighty Quinn.

Downie moved to France in the mid-to-late 1990s, where he focused on producing and collaborated with Senegalese vocalist Youssou N’Dour.


Grace Jones, the legendary Jamaican singer and actor, was also influenced by the multi-instrumentalist. Jones wrote the song “My Jamaican Guy” in 1983, which she subsequently said was inspired by Downie.

Downie went on to record his first solo album, Organ-D, in 2001.

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