Drummer Ginger Baker Passes Away at 80

British musician Ginger Baker performs at the 'Zildjian Drummers Achievement Awards' at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. The family of drummer Ginger Baker the volatile and propulsive Br

British musician Ginger Baker performs at the 'Zildjian Drummers Achievement Awards' at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. The family of drummer Ginger Baker the volatile and propulsive Br

Ginger Baker, one-third of the blues-rock supergroup Cream and a percussionist known nearly as much for his fiery temperament as his virtuosity on the drums, died Sunday in Britain.

Ginger Baker, the highly influential and irrepressible drummer, who gave the backbeat to bands such as Cream and Blind Faith not to mention adventurous side projects, died today. "Thank you to everyone for your kind words over the past weeks", they tweeted.

Baker had fallen ill last month and was hospitalized, and his family had asked fans to keep him in their prayers.

The trio's first single for manager Robert Stigwood's Reaction label was "Wrapping Paper", a throwaway pop number that would be left off Fresh Cream, the band's debut, when released in December 1966.

The band broke up in 1968, amid battles between Baker and bassist Bruce, and he then joined another mythical, ephemeral group, Blind Faith, alongside Clapton and Steve Winwood, before founding the 10-piece Ginger Baker's Air Force.

Members of Cream issued separate statements about the passing of Ginger; son Kofi Baker said: "The other day I had a handsome visit with my dad...we talked about memories and music and he's happy that I'm keeping his legacy alive".

He says: "As a young musician few drummers stood taller or were a bigger musical influence than Ginger Baker".

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He said: 'Ginger Baker, elephantine drummer, wild and ideal man. Jack Bruce died in 2014.

Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker was born in Lewisham, South London on 19 August 1939.

Baker came of age just as London was learning the blues, with such future superstars as Clapton, Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page among the pioneers. "I was in awe of him because he was trained as a jazz drummer and played in a completely different way, and sounded different from most [rock] drummers, like Charlie Watts".

In February 2016, he announced he had been diagnosed with "serious heart issues" and cancelled all future gigs until further notice.

His passing three years later has been met with a wealth of tributes from his fellow musicians, all of whom have acknowledged his unique contribution to modern music and what remains a considerable legacy.

In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, he said "I've got degenerative osteoarthritis, which is extremely painful".

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