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Devon dies

MELISSA DOUGHTY and ANGELO MARCELLE Monday, July 17 2017

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Devon Matthews, the popular 36-year-old soca artiste and radio personality well-known for his radio programme Affairs of the Heart on Red 96.7fm, died early Sunday morning after performing at carnival band, Tribe’s, Festivals of the Bands.

News of his death sent shock waves through the entertainment industry and country, with many on social media lamenting the fragility of life. Matthews collapsed, backstage, after performing at the event at St Mary’s College Grounds around midnight. He was rushed to St Clair Medical Centre where he was pronounced dead. It is believed he died of a heart attack. A post-mortem is expected to be done today.

Dean Ackin, Tribe’s band leader and co-founder, told Newsday, Matthews and Shot Master J were scheduled to come on at 11 pm.

Matthews, he said, performed for approximately 35 to 45 minutes and was taken to St Clair at approximately 11.50 pm.

“Initial reports is that he told Shot Master J, his DJ, when they arrived at venue that he had some chest pains, almost like acid reflux. But he still went on stage later on in the night. While on stage he told some of the persons on stage with him, he was feeling a bit warm and was sweating. He wanted to come off stage for a short while.

“I think Blaze took over the mic at that point in time and Devon went backstage and sat on a chair. I think within a couple minutes of sitting down, he collapsed and fell off the chair but there were people around.

The Fire Services were positioned backstage and they immediately came to his assistance,” Ackin said recalling what happened.

He described Matthews as part of the Tribe family, as he perfomed at many of band’s events. Ackin added that he was very talented and a rising star.

Matthews placed third in this year’s Soca Monarch competition with the song, D Journey (Make It) done collaboratively with Ella Andall.

Many fans posted to his Face- Book wall, in disbelief, as news of his passing spread on social media.

He was in the soca arena for more than a decade. Red96.7fm also sent condolences to Matthews’ family and friends, saying he was pivotal in making it the premier urban radio station in the country. Two days ago, Matthews, on his Instagram page, Drealdev, was seen practising fire breathing. Beneath the post he wrote, “One life to live and I’m goona live it. That moment when you like wta you doing and a voice in your head says dawg you have a #beard now.” When Newsday visited Devon’s Santa Rosa home, yesterday, relatives were already making preparations for his ‘wake’. The home was busy with relatives and friends coming to mourn and support each other. At the time of the interview, his mom, Gloria Matthews, was occupied.

His cousin Clive Alvarez who spoke on behalf of the family, said that the one-year anniversary of the death of Devon’s father, Selwyn Matthews, was remembered on June 10 last month. “The wounds are pretty much fresh still. His mother is still trying to come to terms with the news and the fact that Devon is with us no more.” According to Alvarez, Devon went to work at the Tribe Band Launch on Saturday night and it was some time after midnight, that he complained of having chest pains.

The ambulance was contacted and he was taken to St Clair Medical Centre, where he died.

When asked what was the cause of his death, Alvarez said, “Still to be ascertained but preliminary imformation thus far, suggest that he died from a heart attack.” Alvarez noted, that during the daytime on Saturday, Devon was working on getting footage for videos to be used for the upcoming Carnival season. He said, “I won’t be surprised if someone still uses the footage and releases it.” On January 17 of this year, Devon Matthews, Music Producer Anson Soverall and radio station Red 96.7FM, won the first copyright infringement case based on music in this jurisdiction.

The case involved Full Blown Entertainment Company Ltd directors Kevon and Kory Hart who filed legal action against Matthews, Soverall and the radio station.

Matthews was also managed by the Ground Empire company run by Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez and Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez. Lyons-Alvarez told Newsday, “He was part of the Ground Empire family. We managed him…He was just in Orlando with us, performing for people.

We got such great acceptance from everyone. “This is not just the loss of a talented artiste that TT was about to discover but a genuinely nice, pleasant human being. That was always fun to be around. I know he just lost his dad and condolences to his mother who now has to deal with this too.” Tribe posted on its FaceBook Page, “The TRIBE family joins the rest of the nation in mourning the sudden passing of DJ, Soca Artist and cultural advocate Devon Matthews.

We offer sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. The entertainment and cultural sector has lost a strong, versatile talent whose star was on the rise. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.” Matthews is also expected to be honoured for his contribution to culture at next month’s Arima Fest celebrations. A release yesterday said, “Mayor of Arima Lisa Morris- Julian and the Arima Borough Council will press ahead with plans to honour the contribution of the late Soca Artiste and Radio Host Devon Matthews by nominating him for a civic award at next month’s Arima Fest celebrations. During a meeting last week, members of the council decided that Matthews stood as a suitable nominee due to his consistent positive contributions to the arts and culture. The council was pleased to be among those within the borough who celebrated his third place achievement at the International Soca Monarch. Today, the council bitterly mourns his passing and it extends sincere condolences to his loved ones.” Matthews was an only child and leaves to mourn his mother, Gloria Matthews.



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