Home Music Industry News RFFocus : Those we said Goodbye to in 2013

RFFocus : Those we said Goodbye to in 2013

Paul-Walker-dead-few-recent-quotes-by-Paul-WalkerWe all know that death is inevitable and he loss quite a few industry legends this year. From the tragically unexpected death of actor Paul Walker to the passing of those suffering with illness, has been a year to remember and honor the dead. RFFocus would like to say Rest in Prosperity to all those that moved on this year and we send sincere condolences to those affected by the passing of their loved ones. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson-Mandela1We would like to take this time out to offer our sincere condolences to Nelson Mandela’s family, loved ones, and anyone that was touched or influenced by this man’s dedication. Rest in Prosperity Nelson Mandela! This man was not only important to South Africa but also to the entire world. President Obama gave a statement live from the White House regarding the legacy of this extraordinary human being. At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Jerry Bolding

jerry-bouldingRFFocus was sad to report that industry radio icon Jerry “The Doctor” Boulding, 75, passed away this year. He had been very ill over the last couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving and he died on the evening of Thanksgiving. Kevin worked with Jerry at Urban Network and would often say that he was the most brilliant radio mind in the industry. – (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Ricky Lawson

RickyLawsonRFFocus reported that legendary industry drummer RICKY LAWSON suffered an aneurysm a week prior to his family taking him off life support. Lawson played in his high school jazz band, which consisted of only 5 members (including the director). Ricky played for The Sons of Soul, who performed at the 1969 Michigan State Fair, opening for The Jackson Five along with The Blazer, a band from Cooley High School in Detroit that included La Palabra. Also in high school, he played such sports as water polo and swimming. His swimming talent eventually earned him a scholarship to college. Though he only spent one year at college and was asked to play drums for Stevie Wonder. Then in the 80′s and 90′s he played drums for Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. He played on Whitney’s famous hit, “I Will Always Love You”. Ricky has a one note “solo” in the song, where he kicks the bass drum before Whitney’s dramatic vocal finale. He says that this is his favorite solo of his career. Lawson has collaborated with many artists including Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, Phil Collins, Babyface, The Yellowjackets, Whitney Houston, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, and countless others. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Ricky “Lord Infamous” Dunigan

lord infamousRicky “Lord Infamous” Dunigan of the rap group Three 6 Mafia has died of a heart attack according to the Hollywood Reporter. He was only 40 years old at the time of his death. He was found dead in his mother’s home in Memphis, Tennessee Friday night. “He passed away in his sleep from a heart attack,” his half-brother, Three 6 Mafia’s dj Paul, told The Hollywood Reporter. “He said he was tired, he wanted to sleep. He sat down at the kitchen table, put his head in his arms to lay down … to get some sleep.” Juicy J and Lil Wyte both shared their sentiments via twitter. “Rest in Peace Lord Infamous please respect the family and dear friends during this tragedy,” band member Gangsta Boo tweeted. “I will never forget the shows we rocked together. My heart is in pieces.” “R.I.P. lord infamous,” Three 6 member Juicy J tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “He gave us the name #Triple6Mafia he was a pioneer, he was a god, he was my friend. RIP Ricky ‘Lord Infamous’ Dunigan,” Lil Wyte wrote. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Sheila Stewart

n-SHEILA-STEWART-largeRadio One personality Shelia Stewart was killed in a crash the morning of October 24, 2013. She was on her way to work stated Chris Wegmann, RVP of Radio One . She was staying with her sister while working from Atlanta but primarily worked for stations in the DC market. She worked in the radio industry for over 20 years. “A talented colleague, Sheila’s contributions will long be felt by her Radio One family and the lives she touched through her various charitable connections and community organizations,” Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson Radio One, Inc. said in a statement published on Praise 104.1′s website. Stewart graduated from Benedict College and also worked as an adjunct professor at several colleges. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

mitch_maloneCentral Virginia radio personality Mitch Malone (James Mitchell) the Quite Storm host on Radio One’s kiss FM died Monday, 11/25/13 of what his family described as natural causes. Malone has worked in several other markets including Greensboro, Baltimore, Norfolk and Raleigh-Durham. He was a native of Petersburg and graduated from Virginia State University. – See more at: https://rffocus.org/radio-vet-mitch-malone-/#sthash.q52jY6FJ.dpuf (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Betty Pino Dies

betty-pino-080713A 65-Year-Old Spanish Language DJ in Miami, Betty Pino, died  on August 7th of Sepsis (see footnote). She had many plastic surgeries and opted to do what doctors considered illegal silicone injections into her buttocks to give it a full look. Doctors often refuse to remove these types of injections because of the complications they can cause. The silicone can harden, causing chronic inflammation, infections or even oozing through the skin as the silicone mixes with body tissue which is what happened to Pino. She finally found a doctor to remove the silicone but she got ill and had to return to the hospital. She ended up in a coma shortly thereafter and doctors had to remove her hands and feet as her heath continued to decline. She died the next day. – See more at: https://rffocus.org/miami-dj-petty-pino-dies-cosmetic-surgery/#sthash.tZECt4Mj.dpuf (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Larry McKinley

larry McKinnKnown to many as the the co-founder of Minit Records and the latter-day voice of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, he will be greatly missed as he died Sunday, 12/8/13 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 85 years old. Larry McKinley also worked at local radio station WMRY-FM,which later became WYLD-AM. In the 1950′s he was a well known disc jockey that played a pivotal role in breaking many f hit records, including Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.” He was also a concert promoter and he was instrumental in booking talent such as James Brown, Jackie Wilson, the Four Tops, and Aretha Franklin. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Maxine Powell

Maxine PowellMaxine Powell, who is known for smoothing out the rough edges of Motown’s diamonds in the rough and turning them into polished jewels, died October 14th at Providence Hospital in Southfield. She was 98. Born in Texarkana, Texas, and raised in my hometown of Chicago, Powell was one of the founding members of Motown’s Artist Development department. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

DJ W. Ron Sailor Sr.

truthy-awards136-2012-04-13waokRadio vet W. Ron Sailor Sr. died on October 11, 2013. He was 61. Sailor was the Pastor of Christ the King Baptist Church and a former journalist for CBS’ WAOK as well as the former urban station WIGO. He is survived by is wife, 4 sons and 2 daughters. Sailor also worked as a journalist for TV and the newspapers in Atlanta (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

E. Steven Collins

esc-studio-pix-1Radio One’s E. Steven Collins died from a massive heart attack on the morning of September 9, 2013. E. Steven Collins devoted the past decade of his as Radio One’s Director of Urban Marketing and External Relations and the host of his weekly show, Philly Speaks on Old School 100.3 which regularly featured a distinguished panel of local & national guests each Sunday. Radio One Chairperson and Founder, Catherine Hughes, says “E. Steven Collins was a valued member of the Radio One Family for over a decade, and brought together the corporate, civic, clergy and overall community for a positive good. I personally recruited E. and firmly believe that it was one of the wisest hires of an exemplary executive and broadcaster. My heartfelt and profound condolences to his wife- Lisa, sons- Rashid and Langston as well as all of his relatives, friends, legions of listeners, and his Radio One family. ” (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Ken Norton

120218-Ken_Norton-139299914_620x350Former heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton Sr. died September 18, 2013 at the age of 70. Norton had been battling several health ailments including a heart attack last year and a stroke. A previously unheralded Norton famously beat Muhammad Ali in 1973 in San Diego, breaking his jaw in the process. It was just the second defeat of Ali’s career. Norton went on to become an actor in the early 70s staring in some of the most historic films such as Mandingo where he played a slave. Norton finished his career 42-7-1, including 33 knockouts and he retired in 1981 following a first-round loss to Gerry Cooney at Madison Square Garden. – See more at: https://rffocus.org/heavyweight-boxing-champ-ken-norton-dies-70/#sthash.hfYr0Zga.dpuf CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

DJ Jay Swift Dies

562109_534723316578235_144099023_nDJ Jay Swift died Thursday September 13th due to injuries he suffered during a Labor Day weekend car accident. Swift, 39, who was known to his family as James Williams was well respected, received, and adored around the Montgomery area. Swift served as a radio personality and certified master on the 1′s and 2′s for 102.7 FM. He gained notoriety in the community with his daily show “Live in the Mix with DJJay Swift” as well as by rocking clubs in the Montgomery area. CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

George Duke

george_duke_radio6George Duke died on August 5. Duke just completed an album and was in the process of promoting it after losing his wife and falling into a depression just a year ago. Former Supreme’s member Sherrie Payne states: “I just received the devastating and sad news that the great musician, George Duke, passed away this evening at St. John’s hospital in L.A. It was just one year earlier, July 18th, that his beloved wife and my friend, Corine, went to be with the Lord. Please keep his sons, Rasheed and John, in your prayers. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)


1003823_167677376745247_241720845_nDJ legend Kevin Allen Sr, 51 aka Soni D was killed in a head on car crash Monday July 1, 2013. Reports state that he had just come back from Los Angeles to attend his daughter’s graduation then he was driving west on Highway 58 near Harper Lake Road at 3:20 p.m. when he drove into eastbound lanes to pass a vehicle in front of him in Hinkley, CA. He ended up in the lane with oncoming traffic and crashed head on with another vehicle.Soni was considered a pioneer in the Memphis club scene as well as the national radio industry. He is a three-time Billboard Magazine Award Winner for his work as production manager, producer and engineer for “Tom Joyner’s On The Move” nationally syndicated countdown show. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

jim-kellyJim was one of the biggest stars of the Blaxsplotation era in the early 70s. One of his most memorable films was working with Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee in the cult smash, Enter the Dragon in 1967. died of Cancer in his home in San Diego (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

puff johnsonR&B singer Puff Johnson died 6/24/13 has she succumbed to her bout with cervical cancer. Born in Detroit, she emerged on the music scene with the singles “Forever More.” She has also collaborated with the Bay Area based R&B group, Somethin’ for the People; and with Tupac Shakur on his hit single, “Me Against the World”, which was featured on the Bad Boys movie soundtrack and his album of the same name. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Donna Creer

donna-creer-is-seen-in-this-photo-shown-with-her-profile-on-the-broadcasters-hall-of-fame-websiteA major influential figure in the gospel music industry, Donna Creer, died in her bed early Wednesday morning, June 12, 2013 along with her husband, Donald Creer, after a suspected arsonist set fire to their home both were announced dead upon arrival to the hospital. – See more at: https://rffocus.org/gospel-announcer-donna-creer-murdered/#sthash.rCwmky4Z.dpuf (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Paulette DeSuzia

40461_1257672902151_4096628_nIndustry publicity and promotions veteran PAULETTE DeSUZIA passed in her sleep June 3, 2013 Via her company From A Whisper to A Scream (named after her all-time favorite Esther Phillips LP) and her industry tip sheet “Peepin’ the Scene,” Paulette was a solid-as-a-rock backbone of grass roots support to many on the soul side of the bizness. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Bill Clark

378128_10150896142335214_158482670_nRadio Announcer; former WCLK Radio Programmer, NBPC Former SE Chapter President and Claflin University Broadcasting Professor Bill Clark Drummer Extraordinaire passed away suddenly as the result of a stroke this year. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)


dj-saxwell-twitter43-year-old Sheldon Martinez, a popular Florida DJ and Florida A&M alum died on May 18, 2013 in a car crash. He was popularly known as DJ Saxwell and died from injuries he received from the car accident. According to local police, Martinez’s car traveled across a patch of grass, two lanes of traffic and then flipped over into a canal. Police have not identified what caused him to lose control of the vehicle. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)


romanthonyRomanthony, a dance music producer and singer who sang on one of Daft Punk‘s biggest hits, One More Time has died. His sister Melany Moore states that he died at home in Austin, Texas, on May 7, but the music world is just learning about it. His real name was Anthony Moore and his greatest success was singing vocals on One More Time – Daft Punk‘s previous biggest hit until the current single featuring former Chic creator Nile Rodgers, Get Lucky, topped the charts across the globe. – See more at: https://rffocus.org/music-producer-romanthony-dies/#sthash.oJcIU830.dpuf (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Mr. Magic

Mr MagicFriday March 1, 2013, Awood Johnson, known to the world as Mr. Magic (real name Awood Johnson), died in a car accident in Hattiesburg, Miss. As a member of Master P’s No Limit family, fellow No Limit rapper Silkk the Shocker was the first one to notify fans of Mr. Magic’s death on Twitter. “Prayers goes to the Family and Friends of Mr. Magic. Him and Wife died in a car accident last night.” Mr. Magic’s wife of 13 years, Chastity, also died in the crash. However, the couple’s 12-year-old daughter, Twila Wise Johnson, survived, according to NOLA.com. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Bobby Rogers

Bobby RogersBobby Rogers, a founding member of the group the Miracles, died on Sunday March 3, 2013 at the age of 73. Ironically, Bobby Rogers was born in Detroit in February 1940, in the same hospital and on the same day as William “Smokey” Robinson. Who knew that one day sixteen years later he would link up with Smokey to form the Miracles with his cousin Claudette Rogers, Pete Moore and Ronnie White. In 1957, the group met Berry Gordy Jr. and soon became a staple in the record producer’s rising Motown empire. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Graham Armstrong

graham armstrongIndustry vet and former PD Graham Armstrong passed March 1, 2013. He had been suffering from several illnesses for quite some time. He died of complications from Pneumonia. Graham Armstrong was a staunch advocate for the history of African American people and was very proud of the library of literature he amassed, piece by piece – from thrift stores to E-Bay – on our legendary greats – particularly in music. His favorite artists were Sam Cooke, Bob Marley, Jackie Wilson, Teddy Pendergrass, Al Green and the Tall, Tan and Temptin’ Temptations. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner

SugarfootLeroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the courageously flamboyant front man of the Ohio Players, died at age 70 on January 26, 2013. As the lead guitarist and vocalist on many of their biggest hits, including “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster,” and more, Bonner was considered one the most talented, well known, and respected funksters of his generation and (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

DJ Trauma

trauma“DJ Trauma” Servalli, the 38-year-old vet mix jock died suddenly in Arizona after suffering from Flu Like symptoms. He developed the symptoms while visiting the Bay Are over the holidays. Seravalli worked at St. Petersburg’s WLLD (94.1 FM), known as WiLD 94.1, from 1999 to 2008. He made a move recently and had been working for Phoenix’s KKFR-FM. – See more at: https://rffocus.org/former-wild-94-1-dj-trauma-dies-suddenly/#sthash.dJQJ1Yzb.dpuf (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Kim Hughes

The industry was shocked to learn that former Crossover editor at HITS Magazine Kimberly Hkim hughesughes died suddenly this past Friday from a massive heart attack in her Malibu home. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

youngLee Thompson Young, who is known for playing the Disney character “The Famous Jett Jackson” was found deadd after what officials believe was a suicide. Sources report that the 29 year old actor’s body was found with a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted. Lee Thompson Young‘s most recent work was on the TNT show “Rizzoli & Isles.’ (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

bobby-blue-bland-1Bobby “Blue” Bland, a distinguished singer who blended Southern blues and soul in songs such as “Turn on Your Love Light” and “Further On Up the Road,” died 6/23/13. He was 83. Bland died due to complications from an ongoing illness at his Memphis, Tenn., home surrounded by relatives. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Chris Kelly

krisskrosschriskellyChris Kelly, half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross — who made one of the decade’s most memorable songs with the frenetic “Jump” — has died, and authorities say they are investigating his death as a possible drug overdose. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Bobbie Smith

Bobbie-SmithBobbie Smith, lead singer for the Detroit soul group the Spinners, died following complications from flu and pneumonia, The Associated Press reports. He was 76, and had been diagnosed with lung cancer in November. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Otis “Damon” Harris

Otis-Damon-Harris-deadOtis Harris, a former member of The Temptations who sang on the group’s 1972 hit “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” died at the age 62, after fighting prostate cancer for 14 years. Harris auditioned to join the Temptations in 1971 at the age of 21 after the departure of Eddie Kendricks, one of the original lead singers of the group. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Lou Myers

lou-meyersActor Lou Myers, best known for his role as ornery restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the television series “A Different World,” died 2/19/2013. Tonia McDonald of Myers’ nonprofit, said Myers died at Charleston Area Medical Center in WV. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Donald Byrd

Donald ByrdThe influential jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd died at the age of 80. Alex Bugnon, a jazz pianist, reported his uncle’s death. Byrd’s legacy is summed up by his nephew’s Facebook tribute: “Let’s remember Donald as a one of a kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Richie Havens

Richie HavensThe man that once performed at Woodstock for over 2 hours with just a guitar in hand has passed today. Beloved folk icon Richie Havens died the morning of April 23rd in his home from a sudden heart attack. He was 72. Havens first became part of musical history during his impromptu opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Best known for his distinctive intense, rhythmic guitar style and soulful covers of pop and folk songs, Havens toured and recorded music for over 40 years before retiring from the road 3 years ago. Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humor and his powerful presence. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Kidd Kraddick

130728kidd-kraddick1_300x206Radio Host and TV Personality David “Kidd” Kraddick, 53, died July 27, 2013. His nationally-syndicated morning radio show, Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, was based in Las Colinas, Texas, in Irving, a suburb of Dallas, and airs/aired throughout the United States, syndicated by Kraddick’s company, YEA Networks. Kraddick was one of the stars of the radio oriented TV show Dish Nation. On July 27th, 2013 it was reported by Mark Cuban via Twitter that Kraddick had died. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Roger Ebert

Roger EbertAward winning film critic Roger Ebert died April 4, 2013. Ebert was 70 years old. The news was just tweeted: “It is with a heavy heart we report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) has passed away.” The day before his death, Ebert stated he would take “a leave of presence” due to a resurgence in his cancer. “I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.” I grew up watching Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel and always enjoyed their commentaries on the movies whether I agreed with them or not. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Freddy E

Freddy EHip hop artist and Internet personality Frederick Eugene Buhl died Saturday, January 5th in Renton, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot after announcing his suicide attempt on Twitter. Known to most as Freddy E, who was signed to rapper Tyga’s label and was said to be dating label mate Honey Cocaine, Freddy E virtually spelled out this death via social media. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Jose Ocha

Jose OchoaRedding, CA. DJ Jose Ochoa, 35, a popular DJ with Results Radio’s Power 94.7 was found dead in his home Friday December 28th of 2012 but the news came out in early January of 2013. He apparently died from a heart attack, the Shasta County Coroner’s Office reported Monday Jan 1, 2013. He had just married his girlfriend Monica this past October. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

George Jackson

George_5_001.1Internationally acclaimed songwriter George Henry Jackson passed away Sunday, April 14, 2013. Born in Indianola, MS on March 12, 1945, to Otis and Letha Jackson, George moved with his family in 1950 to Greenville, MS, grew up there, and dedicated his life to Christ at an early age. George spent his teen years listening as the radio played records by the fabulous gospel groups and soul singers who frequented the Mississippi River Delta towns. George always had a song on his mind. His career in music began in the early 60′s as an active vocalist and songwriter in Memphis, where he made his home for the next 26 years. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

David “EZ Street” Hamilton

ezhamPhil Michaels-Trueba, Hot 105 Miami PD stated it best on his FaceBook Page… about the death of David Hamilton aka EZ Street, (not to be confused with the EZ Street in DC radio) I am sitting here at my desk staring at this keyboard numb. I was just informed that David “EZ Street” Hamitlon passed away today. EZ (as he was known on the radio) was the first on air talent I ever hired on my first PD job when we signed on WPYO – Orlando, FL in 1999. From the moment I heard his aircheck (audition tape) I was mesmerized. He was so talented and so freakin’ crazy but I loved it everytime he was on the radio. (CLICK NEXT FOR MORE LEGENDS)

Patti Webster

obit-patti-websterPatti Webster, a well known publicist who represented several A-List clients including Janet Jackson, Steve Harvey , Usher, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Alicia Keys, died Friday at the age of 49. Webster succumbed to brain cancer at a hospital in Somerville, N.J., her firm, W&W Public Relations, announced.

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