Just over a year after the untimely death of R&B hero Prince, his long-time drummer John Blackwell Jr. is also announced to have died at the age of just 43 on Independence Day. The death was not an unexpected eventuality, and his family revealed that his passing was 'peaceful'.

Prince performing livePrince performing live

John Blackwell Jr.'s wife Yaritza shared the sad news of her husband's death on his Instagram account yesterday (July 4th 2017), posting a photo of her gloved hand holding his as he apparently lies in a hospital bed. 

'My husband incredible drummer John Blackwell Jr. passed the way peacefully in my company today', she wrote. 'Thanks God for his life and thanks everyone for their support.'

In June 2016, John was diagnosed with having two tumours on his brain that were subsequently surgically removed. Unfortunately, doctor's were forced to removed part of his brain at the same time which rendered him unable to his left limbs. He had been in Japan playing at live jazz hall Blue Note Tokyo at the time of his diagnosis.

Since the diagnosis, John had been on a fight to survive against all odds, determined not to join his friend and co-musician of fifteen years, Prince. Back in August, he told WTSP-TV that he could sense him calling him to the after-life. 'I can hear Prince now say 'I'll just call John'', John said. 'No you ain't! I don't want to do that gig. Not yet.'

The news of his death comes only days after Yaritza opened up about how John was being moved to a rehab facility to receive 'Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapies to continue his long recovery process'. He had already been moved back and forth from ICU to rehab several times since February due to various unspecified complications.

More: Posthumous Prince EP 'Deliverance' unveiled

John and his family had set up a GoFundMe page to help with his medical expenses and general income, and as of today it has reached $79,910.