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Sunday, 15 March, 1998, 17:55 GMT
Judge Dread dies on stage
Reggae star Judge Dread, a constant presence in the British charts throughout the 1970s, has died after collapsing on stage during a performance.

The singer, whose real name was Alex Hughes, was appearing at the Penny Theatre in Canterbury on Friday when he suffered a suspected heart attack.

He collapsed at the end of his show, leading the crowd to believe it was part of the act. A paramedic in the audience realised the singer was ill and attempted cardiac resuscitation, Kent police said.

He was taken by ambulance to the Kent and Canterbury hospital nearby where he was pronounced dead, she added. A post mortem is due to be arranged to find the exact cause of death.

The singer was understood to be in his 50s and thought to be from the Snodland area of Kent.

Big in the 70s

Judge Dread had 12 chart hits, starting in 1972, with risque reggae numbers such as Big Six - which was followed by Big Seven, Big Eight and so on up to Big Twenty-Four.

Big Six reached number 11 and remained in the charts for 27 weeks. Big Seven achieved a 27-week stay and a peak position of eight.

Judge Dread's next biggest hit was a departure from the series - a cover version of Je T'Aime which reached number nine in 1975.

Although generally seen as a reggae artist in the 1970s, Judge Dread is now more usually classed as a ska singer.

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