GRAMMY-winning drummer Ricky Lawson died Dec. 23, 2013, following a brain aneurism. He was 59. A native of Detroit, Lawson collaborated with GRAMMY-winning artists such as Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston, with whom he collaborated on the 1993 GRAMMY-winning hit "I Will Always Love You." Lawson earned a GRAMMY Award in 1986 for Best R&B Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group Or Soloist) for the Yellowjackets' "And You Know That." "Ricky Lawson was a gifted and dynamic drummer," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "We have lost a skillful musician."
In related news, GRAMMY-winning multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef also died Dec. 23, 2013. A cause of death was not released. He was 93. He was a dynamic composer and educator who was known for his fusion of jazz and world music using instruments such as saxophone, flute, bassoon, and oboe. Among the artists he collaborated with were Cannonball Adderly, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus. Lateef earned a GRAMMY Award in 1987 for Best New Age Performance for Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony. "Our music community, jazz in particular, has lost one of its giants, and his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire and teach future generations," said Portnow.