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Pioneer of rap reggae, King Stitt, dies at 72

The Associated Press, Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 12:50pm (PST)

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Rap-reggae pioneer King Stitt has died in Jamaica at age 72.

Jamaican musicologist Bunny Goodison says his close friend died Tuesday after being treated at a Kingston hospital for prostate cancer and diabetes.

The entertainer known offstage as Winston Sparks started his career in the late 1950s on Kingston's sound system circuit.

He is credited as being one of the earliest performers of "toasting," a form of Jamaican deejaying that inspired hip hop.

Stitt is best known for songs such as "Paradise Plum" and "Fire Corner." He collaborated for years with late music producer Clement Dodd, who ran the celebrated Studio One.

He is survived by a daughter.

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