KINGSTON, Jamaica – Bryon Lee passed away today (November 4) in Kingston, Jamaica at the age of 73. Byron Lee was a pioneer of Jamaica’s music industry and bandleader extraordinaire.
Lee has been fighting transitional cell cancer and was treated in Miami for a few weeks. He was also diagnosed with bladder cancer two years ago and returned to Jamaica in mid-October.
On Sunday, October 26 he received the National Honour of Order of Jamaica from the Governor General, the Most Honourable Professor Sir Kenneth Hall at the Tony Thwaites Wing at the University Hospital of the West Indies where he was a patient.
Veteran music producer and bandleader, Byron Lee of the band ‘Byron Lee and the Dragonnaires’ (c) was conferred with the Honour of the Order of Jamaica by the Governor General, Prof. Kenneth Hall (r). Mr. Lee was presented with the honour in the Tony Thwaites wing of the University Hospital of the West Indies where he is a patient on Sunday (Oct. 26). The ceremony was witnessed by the Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding (l) and other dignitaries.
The Proclamation read that Byron Lee, who was the recipient the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander, was having the Order of Jamaica conferred upon him “for his outstanding service to the music industry, with effect from the 24th day of October 2008”.
The Honourable Bruce Golding Prime Minister of Jamaica said the O.J. was most richly deserved by Mr. Lee, leader of the world-famous band, Byron Lee and the Dragonnaires.
The Prime Minister said Jamaica was proud “to pay tribute to Mr. Lee for all that he has done for our music and for his powerful fight against cancer.”
“Jamaica, and indeed the world, has lost another great music pioneer with the passing this morning of Byron Lee, one of the greatest band leaders ever to grace the entertainment stages of the world”, says Prime Minister, Bruce Golding.
Mr. Golding said Byron Lee had dedicated 50-years of his life, bringing the best of Jamaica’s music to the world and opening doors of opportunity for young musicians.
The Prime Minister noted that Byron Lee had excelled not only as a musician, with his band ‘ Byron Lee and the Dragonaires’ but was known to be one of the best promoters , label and studio owners, and can be credited for the explosion in popularity of Jamaica’s music as far back as the 60’s.
The Prime Minister has conveyed sympathies on behalf of the Government to Byron Lee’s family, the Dragonaires, his many friends and associates.