RIP Balabhaskar

Noted singer-violinist Balabhaskar who was seriously injured in a car accident last week in Kerala died at a hospital early in Thiruvananthapuram this morning. His two-year-old daughter was killed when the family’s car hit a tree after the driver lost control. He died at around 1 am after a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. Balabhaskar’s wife Lakshmi and the driver are recovering in hospital. Balabhaskar, 40, and family were returning from a visit to a temple in Thrissur after thanksgiving prayers for their daughter; little Tejaswini Bala was born after 15 years of marriage, according to sources close to the family.

The car rammed a tree on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram around 4.30 am, the police said. The couple’s daughter was declared dead in hospital. The driver is believed to have dozed off and lost control of the vehicle. Balabhaskar was on ventilator support after being seriously injured and had undergone a surgery. His body was taken to Thiruvananthapuram’s University College, his alma mater, where people from all walks of life queued up to pay their last respects. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Finance Minister Thomas Issac were among those who reached the college.

The last rites would be held on Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram. The musician shot to fame when, as a 17-year-old, he composed music for a Malayalam film and has scored music for several films. A rising musician, he was was known for his stage performances and concerts in and outside Kerala. His fusion music was popular among his fans. Balabhaskar and Lakshmi were students of the same college.

RIP Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title “the Queen of Soul,” has died, a family statement said Thursday. She was 76.Franklin died at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement on behalf of Franklin’s family from her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

The first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, tops among female vocalists. At the peak of her career — from 1967 to 1975 — she had more than two dozen Top 40 hits. Over the course of a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin’s songs not only topped the charts but became part of the vernacular.

The “official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit,” the family statement said. Franklin’s fans paid tribute with flowers and a crown left on her Hollywood Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles. Her death comes three days after a source close to Franklin told CNN’s Don Lemon that the singer was in hospice care.

RIP Garry Lowe

Longtime Big Sugar bassist Garry Lowe has died. The Canadian musician passed away early this morning following a private two-year battle with cancer. He was 65. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Lowe moved to Canada in 1976 when he was 22. He soon started playing with reggae legend Jackie Mittoo, and quickly became a respected and sought-after bassist in the city’s reggae scene, often playing with bands at the Bamboo Club on Queen. Lowe was a founding member of Culture Shock, one of Toronto’s most popular reggae bands. He made fast friends with Johnson, himself a bassist and huge reggae fan and in 1994, Lowe joined Big Sugar.

Lowe played with Big Sugar during their classic period and on many of their most notable albums, such as 1997’s Juno-nominated Hemi-Vision and 2001’s Brothers & Sisters, installment loans poor credit Are You Ready? Lowe was a featured player on nine of Big Sugar’s albums, from 1992’s self-titled release through 2003’s Hit & Run. When Big Sugar went on hiatus in 2003, Lowe formed the Truth and Rights Revue with fellow Big Sugar member Mojah, a band that played together for a short time and released one album. Among his final performances, Lowe played alongside his friends in Big Sugar and Alex Lifeson of Rush at the Danforth Music Hall in December.

In the wake of Lowe’s passing, Big Sugar leader Gordie Johnson shared the following statement:

“We lost our dear brother and sweet friend Garry this morning. He was my greatest musical collaborator, our wisest elder. We were blessed to be on life’s journey together. We were blessed to know him and share his music. Please remember Garry Lowe in all your thoughts and prayers. Rally round the Lion.”