Tony Johnson, the founder and producer of the Jamaica music festival Reggae Sunsplash, died May 26 of a heart attack in Pasadena. He was 56.
A native of Jamaica, and educated at UCLA, Johnson founded Reggae Sunsplash in 1978 and seven years later began touring a five-hour version of the five-day annual festival to cities worldwide.
In 1993, MCA Records issued “Reggae Sunsplash Live!” a compilation of artists featured at the Jamaica festival.
Johnson worked with reggae greats Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and bands such as Third World, Aswad, Shinehead and Steel Pulse.
He is survived by his wife, Sonia; three daughters; a son; mother; and two granddaughters.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations in Johnson’s name to Soka Gakkai Intl./USA (SGI USA), c/o 115 W. California Blvd. Suite 177, Pasadena, CA 91105.