Ailing calypso icon Kelvin Pope's (The Mighty Duke) last wish was to enter the 2009 Calypso Monarch. The four-time Calypso Monarch and former Road March winner spent his last days in the studio of his Cocorite home where he penned the calypso, The Dying Art. The song, which tells of the dying calypso culture being replaced by soca music, is one of the many tunes Duke had begun writing to contest this year's Calypso Monarch. Originally from Handell Road, Point Fortin, Duke, 77, who was suffering with myelofibrosis, passed away at the Ellerslie Park Private Hospital around 1.05 pm yesterday, where he had been admitted on Tuesday after complaining of feeling ill. His wife Rebecca John-Pope, son Wendell and calypsonian Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool, were at his bedside when he took his last breath.
"He wanted to sing for Carnival...Duke had planned to enter the Calypso Monarch," his grieving wife said yesterday as she left Guides Funeral Home in Port-of-Spain. "For hours he sat down in his office writing songs because he was determined to participate in calypso competitions this year, but it was not be." Ensuring that he was prepared for the Carnival season, John-Pope said her husband had dropped off several yards of suiting material at his tailor in Trincity. "He bought several pieces of material and gave it to his tailor...He wanted to collect the suits in time for the opening week of the Klassic Ruso tent where he was carded to perform," she said.
"He wanted to make sure that everything was in place for his performance."
John-Pope said hours before Duke died, he was in a happy mood.
"He was filled with so much of humour that when the doctor was unable to find his vein, he told him to bring a hammer and nail everyone one was laughing...I cannot believe he is gone." As news of Duke's death spread yesterday, the calypso fraternity extended condolences to the family. Chairman of the south region of Trinidad Unified Calypso Organisation (Tuco) Steve Pascall expressed shock over his sudden passing. Pascall said Duke's death came on the heels of another calypsonian, Clarence Butler, better known as Saccharine who died on Monday. "The entire calypso fraternity is mourning...Even though we knew he was ailing, we did not expect his death at this time, especially during Carnival season," he said.
"Tuco will help in any way possible. "
Offering to assist with funeral arrangements, chairman of the Community Development, Culture and Celebrations committee, Councillor Sean Bharath, also expressed shock over Duke's death.
"We have lost a legend. The Mighty Duke contribution to Point Fortin has been immense and infinite," he said.
Myelofibrosis is a form of leukaemia affecting bone marrow, and is most common in people over 50. The condition gradually changes bone marrow into scar tissue, inhibiting the bone marrow tissue to create new cells. Source: www.wisegeek.com