Byron LeeLegendary Jamaican bandleader and music icon Byron Lee, 73, died of cancer on Nov. 4 in Jamaica.

Lee was 20 years old when he formed his band, the Dragonaires, in 1957. He is credited as being a pioneer who helped bring Jamaican music to the world.

“As a true man of the Caribbean, Byron Lee was a leader, a visionary, a ground-breaker and a true ambassador for Caribbean tourism through the tremendous cultural impact that both he and his music had worldwide,” the Caribbean Tourism Organization said.

“Lee’s high-energy performances at the annual CTO Ball became the stuff of legends. While the man is gone, the music and his legacy always will live on,” CTO added.

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires “took Jamaican music from the grassroots to the middle and upper echelons of Jamaica society and then to the rest of the world,” said Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaica’s minister of information, culture, youth, sports and entertainment.

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