The music fraternity here and most certainly followers of WCK Band are mourning the sudden death of 39-year old Ashton Phillip in New York.
Ashton, an older brother of Cornel and Irvin Phillip of WCK Band was in New York doing business for nearly a month when he collapsed in the street on Wednesday 16 July, in the evening and later died in hospital about 9.30 p.m.
According to family members here, a bus driver managed to get help for Ashton. The paramedics were called in and his sister Sonia with whom he lived while in New York, was alerted. It is understood that while medics did all they could, Ashton died. According to his brother Cornel, Ashton had a heart condition from a child.
Brother Karol Phillip who works with telecommunications of Dominica told Tropical Star that Ashton fainted once last year and was taken to the hospital. He revived, and the suggestion was that it was stress related.
Karol said he urged him to see a doctor, which Ashton did with some persuasion. It was discovered then that his heart had a little murmur.
Ashton had worked for some years with TOD (Cable & Wireless) as a telegraph operator, according to his brother, and “was very good at his job. But he didn’t like it. Like all the Phillips, he couldn’t be tied down to one place doing the same thing over and over.”
He left to open his own music shop and eventually founded Ashwax Records with Leroy Wadix Charles of Wadicole fame, on Cork Street, in 1996.
Ashton played a key role in the fame that WCK now enjoys. Since most of his music sales was outside Dominica, he was the one who really pushed the band’s 1995 hit song “Balance Batty” in St. Martin and Barbados and gave WCK allot of promotion.
He also had a very good relationship especially with his brothers which was difficult to put in words. one brother said.
In the family music tradition, Ashton was always the man in the background.
Mrs. Moonlight Phillip, their mother and a widow told the Tropical Star that the relationship between her siblings was very close. Ashton may have pursued the rasta way, but the brothers were never more close knit when confronted by adversary than when he was picked up by police during an investigation in 1996.
Ashton’s body was cremated on Tuesday 22 in New York and his ashes flown back in Dominica for a funeral service on Monday July 28.
Ashton leaves behind his mother, brothers and sisters Valley, Karol, Daryl, Irvin and Cornel in Dominica, Ingrid, Sonia, Cedric and Steven in the United states and Theda in Canada.