Shaggy and Sting are mourning the death of their road manager, Billy Francis.
While most of us are saddened and angry by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, there are others who are dealing with the pain of losing a loved one, whether to COVID-19 or natural causes. Reggae/dancehall icon Shaggy and his pal, rockstar Sting, is among those folks mourning the death of a loved one today following the passing of their longtime tour manager, Billy.
Sting released a lengthy statement reflecting on their relationship and the times he spent with Billy over the decades. “We’ve been friends now for over four decades, and I may have spent more time with you than I’ve spent with my wife or my kids, literally thousands upon thousands of gigs, trekking from city to city, country to country, and enough long haul flights across the planet to reach to the moon and back,” the singer wrote in a statement posted on his website.
“It was you, the tour manager, who got us all there safely,” Sting continues. “We never missed a gig, always on stage promptly at whatever time we were advertised, two hours on stage, into the van and on to the hotel for a drink in the bar and a night’s sleep, and then up early the next morning for another round and yet another destination.
Shaggy also reflects on how Billy helped them made the 44/876 Tour a success after he and the British singer released their joint album, 44/876.
“Another tough day for me today’ amongst the madness taking place right now, we lost our friend and tour leader/ comedian, prankster wine connoisseur and over all fun human being , Billy you were special, I’m glad I had the opportunity to have met you, hang with you, laugh with you, and be the subject of some of your practical jokes, we drank wine at the bar every night after show, me you and Sting, it’s fair to say 44/876 wouldn’t have been a successful tour without Billy,” Shaggy wrote as he honored Billy on Instagram. “Ive said on numerous interviews that the 44/876 tour was the most fun and rewarding experience of my career Sting and I created the magic but Billy … you made it work. Rest well my brother’ you are loved and missed.”
Shaggy and Sting have been close friends for years so it wasn’t a surprise when they teamed up in 2018 to released a joint project, 44/876. The album debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae chart, and peaked at No. 9 on the UK Albums Chart. The pair also went on a worldwide tour together to help push the project.
Shaggy and Sting won a Grammy for “Best Reggae Album” at the 61st Grammy Awards last year.