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Legendary Jamaican bandleader and jazz instrumentalist, Sonny Bradshaw, has died. The celebrated trumpeter, who was 83 years old, passed away peacefully in a Essex hospital on 10/10/09. Bradshaw suffered further complications from a stroke he had two months ago and died at 11 p.m. GMT at the Kings Hospital in Romford Essex.

His wife, Myrna Hague, said Bradshaw had been gradually recovering from the debilitating stroke he suffered in August, but had remained in "good spirits" and was doing very well. The stroke had been the result of a blood clot, causing severe damage to Bradshaw's brain cells. Myrna Hague said her husband had recovered significantly and was responding quite well to physical rehabilitation.

"He was lucid, he talked, heard and could move. He was left-handed anyway, and his left side was functional," she said. Hague continued: "I was with him in the morning (before his death) and he was in very good spirits. We had a wonderful visit together."

She said when she got the call from the hospital at 10:45 p.m. that he was having complications, she was left in a daze. The Prime Minister Bruce Golding sent his condolences to the family. Sonny Bradshaw is survived by two children, who are both living in the United States.

He was one of the last links to the big-band craze that took place in Jamaica during the 1940s. His contemporaries include saxophonists Tommy McCook and Joe Harriott, who were his colleagues in the All-Star Band. Saxophonist Bobby Gaynair, who lives in, is now the only survivor of that band. Bradshaw formed the Big Band in the early 1950s and also directed the Sonny Bradshaw Seven in which a number of leading musicians, including sax man Dean Fraser and drummer Desi Jones, got their start. Bradshaw was also a former president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians and wrote a weekly column, 'Musicman', in THE STAR, The Gleaner Company's afternoon tabloid.

Since 1991, Bradshaw and Hague have promoted the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, an annual event held in June throughout that resort town as well as Kingston. Over the years, it has featured traditional jazz performers like Jimmy Smits and Herbie Mann. Sonny Bradshaw was awarded the Order and Commander of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaican music.

On a personal note
Sonny Bradshaw has supported us and what we do from its inception and will be sadly missed by all the staff of memorialJA.com. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
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