Writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah has been remembered as a “titan of British literature” after his death aged 65.
He died early on Thursday with his wife by his side after being diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago, a statement on his Instagram said.
“We shared him with the world and we know many will be shocked and saddened by this news,” it added.
Tributes poured in for the “beautiful human being” and “proud Brummie” who “had a lot more to give”.
Zephaniah was born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham, the son of a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse. He was dyslexic and left school aged 13, unable to read or write.
He moved to London aged 22 and published his first book, Pen Rhythm.
His early work used dub poetry, a Jamaican style of work that has evolved into the music genre of the same name, and he would also perform with the group The Benjamin Zephaniah Band.
As Zephaniah’s profile grew, he became a familiar face on television and was credited with bringing dub poetry into British living rooms.
He also wrote five novels as well as poetry for children, and his first book for younger readers, Talking Turkeys, was a huge success upon its publication in 1994.
“Benjamin was a true pioneer and innovator. He gave the world so much,” the statement announcing his death said.
“Through an amazing career including a huge body of poems, literature, music, television and radio, Benjamin leaves us with a joyful and fantastic legacy.”