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Tributes after My Boy Lollipop singer Millie Small dies aged 72

The Jamaican star helped to popularise ska in the UK.

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Millie Small has died, aged 72 (PA)

Millie Small has died, aged 72 (PA)

Millie Small has died, aged 72 (PA)

Tributes have been paid to Jamaican singer Millie Small, best known for her 1960s hit My Boy Lollipop, after her death at the age of 72.

A representative of her label, Island Records, said she died in London on Tuesday after falling ill at the weekend.

Label founder Chris Blackwell said Small had “opened the door for Jamaican music to the world”.

He added: “It became a hit pretty much everywhere in the world. I went with her around the world because each of the territories wanted her to turn up and do TV shows and such, and it was just incredible how she handled it.

“She was such a really sweet person, very funny, great sense of humour. She was really special.”

Radio DJ and broadcaster David Rodigan said on Twitter: “We have lost Millie Small, the first Jamaican artist to achieve international pop chart success in countless countries with My Boy Lollipop.

“The song was so popular that it made her a household name in the UK in 1964 and blazed the way for the recognition of ska music.”

Actor Vas Blackwood, who has appeared in The Lenny Henry Show and Casualty, said My Boy Lollipop “lit the fuse for Jamaican ska music”.

He added: “Her track went Global making history & developed the foundational structures of Jamaican Reggae Music. SLEEP WITH ANGELS SISTER MILLIE X”

My Boy Lollipop reached number two in the UK and US singles charts and sold more than seven million copies around the world.

Small is survived by her daughter, Jaelee.

PA