“Ellis was still performing until August this year, when he collapsed after a concert in central London.
His manager and agent Trish De Rosa described him as “my guiding star and my inspiration”.
“His life was the music and the stage,” she said. “He was getting a tremendous amount of work right up to the end – it was very difficult to get him to slow down.”
The Jamaican authorities are considering giving Ellis a state funeral, Ms De Rosa added.
The prolific singer, who began his career in the 1950s and fronted vocal group The Flames, was diagnosed with cancer in 2007.
Ellis underwent chemotherapy before returning to the stage, but died in London’s Hammersmith hospital on Friday night.
He leaves more than 20 children. “
The size of the family Alton Ellis left behind doesn’t surprise me in the slightest — he was a smooth brother and if his lyrics are anything to be believed, a romantic at heart.
My favorite of his hits is “I’m Just a Guy.” That’s a sentiment you don’t often hear in music now. Humility, romance, and earnest yearning for love. I hope you find it as refreshing as I do.
Alton Ellis’ tune was reworked into an ode to ganja and Rastafari by Jacob Miller, as “I’m Just a Dread.”
Ellis was known as a dapper dude and a consummate performer, as you can see in this live version of “Girl, I’ve Got a Date.”
It takes a certain kind of skill to pull off a velvet suit. Alton Ellis had it down cold.
You will be missed, Alton Ellis. And your musical legacy will live on.