John “Brad” Bradbury, drummer of the ska group The Specials, died Monday in England. He was 62.
The band announced the news on their Twitter account. The cause of death was not revealed.
The drummer was praised for his musical influence in a statement released later by his family.
“Brad’s drumming was the powerhouse behind The Specials, and it was seen as a key part to the 2 Tone sound,” the statement said.
Bradbury joined the band after The Specials’ original lineup went their separate ways in 1979. Their name was then changed to The Special AKA. They are best known for their top 10 hit “Free Nelson Mandela,” “Ghost Town,” “Too Much Too Young” and “A Message to You Rudie.” He also headed a band called JB Allstars.
“He was much respected in the world of drumming, and his style of reggae and ska was seen as genuinely ground-breaking when The Specials first hit the charts in 1979,” the statement continued. “He was an integral part of The Specials re-forming in 2008, and [he] toured with them extensively up to the present day. His contribution to the world of music can not be understated and he will be much missed by family, friends and fans alike.”
Bradbury was born in Coventry, where the band was formed in 1977. They broke up in 1981 but later re-grouped and continued to record without founder and songwriter Jerry Dammers.
Bradbury performed with The Specials until his death. The band’s trombonist, Rico Rodriguez, died three months ago.