“You are a kind, gentle soul and one special talent,” the “Suit & Tie” singer tweeted Wednesday. “You will be missed by myself and so many. God bless you, bro.”
Timberlake tapped Blackwell, having made a name for himself drumming in Prince’s band, for the FutureSex/LoveSound tour in 2006. Other industry figures, like Blink-182’s Travis Barker and bassist Nik West, also reacted to the percussionist’s passing.
West, with whom Blackwell performed over the years, called the drummer a “brother,” “sidekick on stage,” “a happy person,” and “the epitome of a heart of gold.” She wrote, “I visited him while in the hospital and he opened his eyes and held his drumsticks… I had faith he would get well. But now he has no pain.”
“Rest In Peace #JohnBlackwell,” Barker tweeted. “Your legend will live 4ever. One of the best to ever pick up drumsticks. Prayers to family and friends.”
Blackwell was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year that affected the use of his left arm and leg. He sought treatments at a Florida hospital in the summer. His wife, Yaritza, confirmed the news of his passing on Tuesday.