Writer and Poet Benjamin Zephaniah dies aged 65


Cillian Murphy expressed heartfelt condolences for the untimely passing of his Peaky Blinders co-star, Benjamin Zephaniah, aged 65. The duo shared the screen from 2013 to 2022 in the BBC series chronicling the Shelby crime family in 20th-century Birmingham. Zephaniah, born in the city in 1958, portrayed Jeremiah “Jimmy” Jesus, a Jamaican street preacher, and confidant of Murphy's lead character, Tommy Shelby.

Benjamin Zephaniah, poet, performer, Black rights activist, dies aged 65. LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - British poet, musician and actor Benjamin Zephaniah, known for fighting racism and social injustice, has died at the age of 65, after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his family said on Thursday.

In a poignant statement, the Oppenheimer star praised Zephaniah as a "truly gifted and beautiful human being"—a poet, writer, musician, and activist of a generation. Describing him as a proud Brummie and an integral part of Peaky Blinders, Murphy conveyed deep sadness at the news and offered his respects with a simple "RIP."

Zephaniah's character, inspired by a real-life Birmingham figure, fought alongside the Shelbys in the show's first season and played pivotal roles in subsequent seasons. The Peaky Blinders Instagram account expressed shock and devastation at the loss, emphasizing Zephaniah's significant and influential role in the show and the broader creative community.

United Agents, Zephaniah's agency, issued a statement mourning the passing of their esteemed client. The statement highlighted Zephaniah's remarkable legacy across poetry, literature, acting, and his commitment to various causes. The agency extended sympathies to his family and friends during this difficult time.

The news of Zephaniah's passing came through an Instagram post on his account, revealing that he succumbed to a brain tumor diagnosed eight weeks earlier. Beyond his acting contributions, Zephaniah was celebrated as a poet whose impactful work challenged racism and societal norms, notably confronting institutions like the British Empire.

Tributes from figures in the British TV industry, including writer Sarah Phelps, reporter Nadine White, and broadcaster Samira Ahmed, poured in. The Black Writers’ Guild hailed Zephaniah as a "titan of British literature," underlining the profound impact he had on the cultural landscape. In the wake of his passing, the legacy of Benjamin Zephaniah as a multi-talented artist and advocate continues to resonate in the hearts of those he touched.

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