“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.”
#JohnBlackwell legendary drummer for #Prince- THE EPITOME of a heart of gold. A goat in the drummer world. A brother to me. A sidekick on stage to me. A happy person. Pleased by the simple things in life. Food Connoisseur. GROOVE MASTER. NONE LIKE HIM. He passed away today. Exactly one year ago, while on tour together in Japan, we found out he had a tumor. This has left yet another hole in my heart. Today he joins his mother, father, daughter, and Prince (his mentor and the person that was like father to him when his own father passed) in heaven. I'm sending prayers to his wife and everyone else he leaves behind today. 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. Please allow a moment of silence for JOHN BLACKWELL! 💜😞#notahappy4thofjuly #alloftheseholes
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.