[UPDATED] Calypso fraternity mourns Black Stalin’s passing

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Exceptional calypsonian the Black Stalin (Leroy Calliste) – File photo

ONE of the country’s most beloved calypsonians, the quintessential Caribbean man, Leroy Calliste, aka Black Stalin has died.

Stalin, 81, who never recovered from a stroke he suffered nine years ago, passed away at his San Fernando home around 9 am on Wednesday, surrounded by his wife Patsy and members of his family who has been praying for a miracle.

Confirmation of his passing came from his sister Gloria Calliste and her son Junior who told Newsday they could not give any further details as they were at the Customs office in Point Lisas, when they received the news.

San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello who had renamed a street in honour of the five-time Calypso Monarch, said it was a sad day for San Fernando and all of the country.

“We have lost one of our sons and an iconic calypsonian, a beacon of social issues. He will surely be missed,” Regrello said.

Chairman of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) South/Central Region Steve Pascall, aka Ras Kommanda said Calliste’s death had plunged the calypso fraternity into fresh grief and mourning coming on the heels of the very recent passing of Singing Francine (Francine Edwards).

“Sincere condolences to the Calliste family and all his millions of fans around the globe as well as the calypso fraternity. May his spirit transition well into Zion.”

For his contribution to culture, Stalin was conferred with an honorary doctorate by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2008.

Above is an update to the original story which is seen below.

“THERE has been confirmation of the death of beloved calypso veteran Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste. He was 81.

Born on September 24, 1941, Calliste became an icon of his birthplace San Fernando and the country as a calypsonian who won the National Calypso Monarch crown for the first time in 1979 with Caribbean Man and Play One. He would win that crown again in 1985, 1987, 1991 and 1995.

He suffered a minor stroke in 2014. Apart from his many calypso-related accolades, crowns and awards, Calliste also received the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) at the National Awards ceremony in 1987 and in 2008 was conferred an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, for dedication and contribution to calypso music and culture in Trinidad and Tobago.”