[Linked Image]KINGSTON, Jamaica: Bandleader Byron Leader, who entertained the Caribbean for more than 50 years, died on Thursday night at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica.

A few days before his passing the Jamaican government had bestowed on him the Order of Jamaica (OJ).

Byron Lee. Photo: Cayman Net News The Jamaican Gleaner reported that the Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall went to the hospital to make the presentation in the presence of Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Minister of Information, Culture Youth and Sports Olivia Grange, relatives and friends.

The 73-year-old Lee had been fighting transitional cell cancer was being treated in Miami, Florida, for a few weeks. He was also diagnosed with bladder cancer two years ago and returned to Jamaica last weekend because he said he preferred to die in his homeland.

Prime Minister Golding said at the presentation of his OJ award, "Byron Lee and the Dragonaires was an institution that made such an impact on the lives of so many people, and his contribution must be boldly recorded when the history of Jamaican music is being written."

Golding added, "Byron Lee and the Dragonaires had taken their music to Jamaica and the rest of the world."

Noting that the band only two years ago celebrated its 50th anniversary, Golding said Byron Lee and the Dragonaires entertained, inspired and mesmerised three generations of Jamaicans.

Some of the bandís hits were Jamaican Ska, Tiney Winey and Give Me Soca.