On January 25, 2004 Roman Stewart aka Romeo Stewart died of a heart attack at the age of 46. Prior to that night Roman attended a show to see his good friend Freddie McGregor. Thereafter, he attended a birthday party where he sang two songs. It is said that when Roman attempted to sing his third song, he placed the microphone down and complained of chest pains. He later collapsed and was rushed to Long Island Jewish Hospital in New Hyde Park, Long Island, in a coma. Roman Stewart had regain consciousness after an operation lasting several hours and it is said that Roman was heard saying "If I get through this, I'm going to change my life." Later he went into a second coma and then passed on.
Born in May 11 1957, Roman Stewart at a tender age would sing on the streets and at the pier where cruise ships docked. His friend Freddie McGregor would collect the money that people gave them. In 1968, he was just 11 years old when he did his first recording "Walking Down The Street". In 1974 Roman got his first hit song "Hooray Festival", followed by "Hit Song" in 1976.
The early 1970's was good to Roman Stewart wherein he started recording more songs for well known producers such as Glen Brown ("Never Too Young"), Derrick Harriott ("Changing Times"), Everton Da Silva, Phil Pratt and Linval Thompson. In 1975 he won the Jamaican Festival Song Contest with "Hooray Festival", written by his older brother Tinga Stewart and Willie Lindo. He then had a big hit in Jamaica in 1976 with "Hit Song" (aka "Natty Sings Hit Songs"), a song about the desire to have a hit record in order to escape poverty. The same year he moved from Jamaica to New York, where he recorded some songs, dubs and did shows. The latter he was known to do especially when his friends arrived in town most of for free of charge. He continued to visit Jamaica and went on to work with Phil Pratt and Linval Thompson. For the latter he recorded his best known tune, "Rice and Peas", which he recorded in 1979. In all Roman recorded more than 70 singles and two albums by himself and endured a career of more than 30 years.
Roman Stewart was a dapper, jocular, and talented singer. He was a most energetic performer who thrilled his audiences with his joyful and uniquely animated reggae singing style he crafted and honed. It was adapted and often imitated by numerous reggae artists, most notably by his friend of many years, international reggae icon, late great Dennis Emanuel Brown, who was acknowledged as the "Crown Prince Of Reggae."
Roman Stewart recorded two albums of duets and released two solo albums, which was produced by Gussie P, in 2001. The album included re-recordings of some of his earlier hits such as "Peace in the City" and "Rice and Peas".
Sources: Caribbean Net News, Chatty Mouth, and Wikipedia.