Legendary Bassist Robbie Shakespeare Passes Away at 68

Legendary bassist Robbie Shakespeare passed away on Wednesday (December 8). He was 68 years old.

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Shakespeare died following kidney surgery in Florida after battling several kidney-related issues, including a rejected organ. He was on dialysis.

Many in the music industry, from Keith Richards to UB40, are remembering the fallen musician fondly. In his career, Shakespeare has worked with Peter Tosh, Bob Dylan, and many others. He is known for his work in the group Sly & Robbie with drummer Sly Dunbar.

Keith Richards

“So saddened to hear my old dear friend Robbie Shakespeare has passed away! A brilliant bass player and I will always remember the best times with Sly and Robbie! My sympathy and condolences to his family and friends. Jah Wonderful! Keith”

David Rodigan

“The bass is everything in Reggae music and Robbie Shakespeare played his bass guitar like nobody else; he made the beat drop, speaker boxes shook and we rocked.His passing is a tragic loss; his contribution to the genre is immeasurable. RIP Robbie Shakespeare.”

Stretch Armstrong

“My 1st encounter with reggae was seeing Black Uhuru open for The Police in NJ in 81. I was 12, unchaperoned. My mind was blown. I didn’t know Robbie Shakespeare’s name til the next day when I bought the Red LP, but I knew I was watching the coolest person I had ever seen.”

VP Records

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Robbie Shakespeare, bass guitarist and record producer, best known as the one half of the reggae rhythm section and production duo Sly and Robbie.”

Morgan Heritage

“This is truly unexpected. Thank you for your greatness and your contribution to Reggae music. We’ll never forget how you and Sly opened your arms to us back in 1992 and continued to be instrumental throughout our career. #RIP Robbie Shakespeare O.D. #SlyandRobbie


“RIP Robbie Shakespeare. This man’s work as part of the legendary production duo Sly & Robbie and for many others will never ever be forgotten. Gutted. Fly high Basspeare!”

Nadine White

“Robbie Shakespeare, one half of dynamic Jamaican music production duo ‘Sly and Robbie’, has died following a period of illness. A tremendous loss! My thoughts are with his loved ones & colleagues.”


“R.I.P Robbie Shakespeare Another legend gone too soon. #riprobbieshakespeare#SlyandRobbie#reggaelegend

Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

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