Drummer Ricky Lawson has died at the age of 59 after suffering a stroke onstage earlier this month (Dec13). The studio musician was hospitalised in Long Beach, California after falling ill during a show on 13 December (13) and slipping into a coma. Doctors discovered he had been suffering from a brain aneurysm, but he failed to show any signs of improvement and his family decided to take him off life support on Monday night (23Dec13). The Detroit, Michigan native began his career in his teens after learning how to play the drums and deciding to quit school to pursue his music dreams. He became one of America's top studio musicians in the 1980s and enjoyed a career working with the likes of Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston, who he collaborated with on her classic hit I Will Always Love You. He was also a founding member of jazz-fusion band the Yellowjackets, and won a Grammy Award in 1987 for Best R&B Instrumental Performance for their song And You Know That. Throughout his career, Lawson also worked with artists including Bette Midler, George Benson, Quincy Jones and Al Jarreau. Paying tribute to Lawson via Twitter.com on Tuesday (24Dec13), acclaimed musician Sheila E. wrote, "We lost a great man, drummer, father, brother and son. mr Ricky Lawson. He passed away yesterday. Please pray for his family. we will miss u (sic)."