The country has once again been plunged into mourning two days into the 2009 Carnival season with the death of another icon. Popular arranger and former football player William Lewis, described by many as Antigua?s most sought after musical arranger, passed away during the very celebration that made him a music legend.
Lewis, 57, died at about 10 am yesterday in the Intensive Care Unit at Mount St John?s Medical Centre, after he suffered a heart attack and lapsed into a coma early Friday morning.
Born in Gray?s Farm into a music-oriented family, Lewis was the nephew of calypso writer and one of the first persons to chair the Carnival Development Committee, Marcus Christopher.
During the 1970s, Lewis played football for a team in Ottos before going on to play for Antigua Grammar School?s ?Superstars.?
The deceased, along with his late twin brother Alfred ?Ashby? Lewis, Sir Vivian Richards and Director of Sports Mervyn Richards played for the Golden Grove Lion Hill Spliff, contributing to the team winning four championships.
?He was one of the best players Antigua has ever seen,? Richards said. ?We (persons in sports) always miss him, but we think of the happy moments we had together.?
Reflecting on his elder brother?s life, Happy Lewis said William was the rock of their family after Ashby died in 2000. William died under similar conditions as his twin brother.
?William is the greatest brother anybody could have ?? Happy told The Daily OBSERVER. ?? He was our (back bone); he was our pillar after we lost Ashby.
?William was the guy who was almost like the head of the family ? my mother wanted a gas, she had to call William ? It could be anything, she had to call William ? It is a big, big loss for us. He left too early, but we are trained to understand life and we believe in God.?
The musician was at the epitome of his musical arranging career in 1984 when he composed the music for Swallow?s Road March hit Satan Coming Down.
William was also the arranger behind King Progress? Oldie Goldie Party and You Getting It in that year ? songs which made Progress the Calypso Monarch for 1984.
The deceased was responsible for calypso successes such as Edimelo, Sleepy, Shanti, Willi Wa Wa, Singing Sandra, and many others.
He played alongside other musicians in shows with calypso legends including David Rudder, The Mighty Sparrow and King Short Shirt.
?Any name you can call, they went through William,? Happy said. ?All the calypsonians who would be well-known now, at some point, they had to deal with William, basically.?
Meanwhile, Eustace ?Shanti? Edwards said the icon was responsible for his breakthrough into the calypso arena.
?? William Lewis is one of them real Antiguans that really represent in music, football, cricket, you name it, Willy was there ?,? Edwards said.