For the second time in as many weeks, the entertainment fraternity is mourning the loss of an up-and-coming artiste. This time it is cultural artiste, Lil’ Joe who dies at the University Hospital of The West Indies in St Andrew yesterday. On January 21, another artiste, deejay Copper Cat, the son of Reggae crooner Richie Stephens was gunned down outside his Corporate Area residence.
Sources close to the family, note that Lil’ Joe performed in Wickie Wackie, St Thomas on Sunday night and was rushed to hospital yesterday where he died from what is said to have been a ruptured blood vessel.
The 25-year-old artiste was born Alty Nunes and is the son of former National Dance Theatre Company principal dancer and renowned tutor, Patsy Ricketts.
From early yesterday afternoon social network sites, Twitter and Facebook received a flood of tributes to the young artiste, many noting his calm, conscious demeanour.
One of the producers with whom he worked, Gussie Clarke, described the artiste’s passing as a great loss. “He was one of the most talented youths I have come across in a long time, he was multi-talented. He had such a great work ethic, and was set to become one of the stars of the future. So it is a great loss for the music and for us who around him,” Clarke said.
Lil’ Joe’s on-line biography notes that he began his musical training at an early age with celebrated tutors, Curtis Watson, Marjorie Whylie and Karl ‘Simba’ Messado. It further adds that as a youngster he formed a group called Jah Children and toured Europe in the mid-90s. This group had to be shelved as the members concentrated on academic pursuits.
Lil’ Joe is said to have continued in the music industry and earned some notoriety after placing third in the 2005 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s festival song competition. The bio also lists events including Reggae Sumfest, A St Mary Mi Come From, Curefest, Beenie Man’s Summer Sizzle and the Launch of MTV’s Tempo, as stages on which the young artiste has performed.