Legendary Jamaican reggae superstar Denroy Morgan, of the renowned Morgan Heritage, died on March 3 after a prolonged battle with cancer, according to CaribbeanNationalWeekly (CNW). He was 76.
CNW said Morgan passed away at his home in Atlanta surrounded by his children and extended family.
Morgan Heritage confirmed Morgan’s death in a statement on Monday.
“Hon. Bishop Ras Denroy Morgan, affectionately known to the world as a musical prodigy, a pioneer and a musical perfectionist who paved the way for reggae on the international stage, has passed away,” it said.
Born in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica, on May 15, 1945, Morgan Heritage said “Ras Denroy Morgan was a trailblazing musician who migrated to America in 1965.
“Several years later, he had his spiritual calling to Rastafari, and his home on Cornelia St. in Brooklyn, NY became a hub for members of the Twelve Tribes of Israel Rastafarian organization,” it said. “As the years went by, Denroy caught the musical bug and released his first Billboard hit ‘I’ll Do Anything for You’ in 1981”
Morgan Heritage said this album performed well, and that Morgan went on to become the first Jamaican recording artist to be signed to a major record label, RCA, in 1984. Morgan later made his acting debut on The Cosby Show.
Ordained as bishop, Morgan Heritage said Morgan started the Abrahamic Covenant Family Ministry.
Under this ministry, he created the petition for the United Nations to make Nov. 2 the Coronation Day of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, an international holiday.
“His respect in the Rastafarian community would lead to Denroy Morgan later championing a campaign to unify the Rastafarian communities all over the world, called the All-Mansion campaign, another example of his spirit of humanitarianism and freedom,” Morgan Heritage said.
“He was a stern advocate for the legalization of cannabis, and it was one of his greatest joys when it became decriminalized in Jamaica and even legal in some places around the world,” it added.
In 1992, Morgan Heritage said Ras Denroy Morgan brought his children, Morgan Heritage, and L.M.S. to perform at Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica, later signing with MCA Records.
“His vision was always clear, knowing the gift his children would be to the world, and they went on to win two Grammys,” Morgan Heritage said.
“Following the receipt of his children’s 2016 GRAMMY win, Denroy Morgan received the key to the city of his second home, Brooklyn, by current Mayor of New York, Eric Adams, who was the Borough President at the time,” it added.
Morgan Heritage said Morgan’s love for music “remained strong”, stating that, before passing away, he released a single, “Slavery Offences.”
“This single is off a project he held dear to his heart, which he worked on for over five years,” it said, disclosing that the single is set to be released on April 22, 2022.
“As he ascended to Zion, Ras Denroy Morgan was surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren,” Morgan Heritage added. “Survived by his loving wife, Hyacinth Morgan, 30 children, 104 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, Ras Denroy Morgan legacy will live on forever.”
CNW said 15 of Morgan’s children were with Hyacinth.
It said the children formed several groups, including The Dreads, LMS, and the GRAMMY-winning, internationally-acclaimed roots and culture band, Morgan Heritage.
Revered by many, Jamaica Prime Minister, Andrew Holness said: “The mastery he displayed in relation to the aptitude of his children for music, gave birth to the multi-GRAMMY-winning roots and culture band, Morgan Heritage.
“He has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the world through his musical talent and genius,” Holness added. “I, therefore, pay tribute to a veteran of music. May his soul and may light perpetually shine on him.”
Morgan Heritage said that although Morgan “is no longer with us in this realm, his soul will continue to guide and inspire us.
“He will live on in us, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren,” it said. “His legacy will live on forever.
“We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to every single one of you for the outpouring of love from around the world,” Morgan Heritage added. “We thank you for your continued prayers, and just know that all the love you’ve shown him over the years he loved you back. and we thank you.”