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Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer,’ dies at 73

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Rockwalk inductee Clyde Stubblefield speaks onstage during Guitar Center's 28th Annual Drum-Off Finals Event at The Novo by Microsoft on January 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Guitar Center)

Rockwalk inductee Clyde Stubblefield speaks onstage during Guitar Center’s 28th Annual Drum-Off Finals Event at The Novo by Microsoft on January 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Guitar Center)

MADISON, Wis. — Clyde Stubblefield, a James Brown drummer who created one of the most widely sampled drum breaks ever, has died. He was 73.

His wife, Jody Hannon, says Stubblefield died of kidney failure at a Madison, Wisconsin, hospital Saturday. She says he had been suffering from kidney disease for 10 years, and had been hospitalized for a few days.

Stubblefield performed on several of Brown’s classics, but was best known for a short break on Brown’s 1970 single, “Funky Drummer.” Rolling Stone says it was sampled on over 1,000 songs and served as the backbeat for countless hip-hop tracks, including Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”

Hennon says Stubblefield never saw many royalties and never expected them.

Stubblefield was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but had lived in Madison for 25 years.