NEW YORK: Trinidad & Tobago Consul General to New York, Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam, and Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, have urged the public to offer prayers for the legendary calypsonian, The Mighty Sparrow, who is in a comatose state in a New York City hospital.
“I pray for a speedy and full recovery for my dear friend of over 30 years,” said Markowitz in a statement. “He is the true calypso king of the world, a proud son of both Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago.”
Markowitz said the Mighty Sparrow, 78, whose real name is Slinger Francisco, is “a storyteller extraordinaire, who has delighted audiences across the Caribbean and beyond, including Brooklyn, where he has performed on summer concert stage for 31 successive years”.
“Let us focus our energies on praying for both him and his family and allow the family to continue to take care of their loved one… Should there be any further developments, Richard Francisco (Sparrow’s son) has promised to inform the consulate general in New York and we, in turn, will issue an official release to reflect same,” said Ramgoolan, whose consulate general recognized the Mighty Sparrow on August 30 with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Richard, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of his father, said the calypso legend “is resting comfortably, and he’s alive and well. The family wishes to thank the public for their prayers”.
Last week, the family confirmed that Sparrow is in a coma in an unidentified New York hospital.
Sparrow, who has been performing for more than four decades, has been having health challenges for the past three years. In 2010, he underwent surgery to treat a right inguinal hernia that had caused him to cut short performances in Trinidad & Tobago and in the United States because of excruciating pain while on stage.
The Grenadian-born Francisco has been hospitalized for complications caused by diabetes more than once, but has continued to perform in Trinidad & Tobago and in the U.S.
Affectionately called “The Birdie”, Sparrow, who was brought to Trinidad & Tobago before he was a year old, was honoured by the fishing and rural community of Grand Roy, St. John’s, Grenada last year.