MEMPHIS, TN. (THECOUNT) — Omar Higgins, bassist and vocalist of Memphis hardcore punk band Negro Terror, passed away on Thursday, April 18.

Higgins was hospitalized roughly two weeks ago, and remained in the ICU after being diagnosed with both a mini-stroke and a staph infection, reports LambGoat. The 37-year-old was hospitalized since suffering a stroke in early April. He passed away early Thursday morning. Negro Terror’s official Facebook page confirmed his passing.

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Originally born in Brooklyn, Higgins has been a fixture in the underground Memphis music scene for roughly 15 years. After joining the Army and doing two tours of duty in Iraq, Higgins launched a powerviolence group dubbed Downfall of Humanity in 2004, followed by reggae act The Soul Enforcers, before joining eclectic band Chinese Connection Dub Embassy. Negro Terror, an all-black old-school hardcore trio, surfaced in 2015 and gained some traction after covering two songs by white power band, Skrewdriver.

The Higgins issued the following statement earlier today:

“It saddens us to announce that Omar passed away this past Thursday. Omar fought so hard and never gave up hope as so many friends and family prayed and came to visit him almost every day he was in the hospital. Omar loved so many people from all walks of life and he made sure to always help anyone that came to him in need of advice and would do anything that would bring peace. Omar wanted to continue to do what he loved and was healing others through music and conversation. If you or anyone you care about ever needs help, please fight with every muscle in your body to help them with every ounce of love you can summon.

“We love all of you so much as does Omar – let us continue to keep his memory alive and cemented in the history books of Memphis Music.”

A GoFundMe was started to help fund medical expenses:

Dearest Family and Friends,

It saddens us to announce that Omar passed away this past Thursday. Omar fought so hard and never gave up hope as so many friends and family prayed and came to visit him almost every day he was in the hospital. Omar loved so many people from all walks of life and he made sure to always help anyone that came to him in need of advice and would do anything that would bring peace. Omar wanted to continue to do what he loved and was healing others through music and conversation. If you or anyone you care about ever needs help, please fight with every muscle in your body to help them with every ounce of love you can summon.

We love all of you so much as does Omar – let us continue to keep his memory alive and cemented in the history books of Memphis Music.

Gratefully,

David, Joseph and the entire Higgins Family

*** Funeral arrangements are being made at this time and we will post details soon. ***

This is the original post/story that started the GoFundMe campaign:

Omar Higgins has been an activist for the Memphis Music Community his entire life and is known and loved by so many of us. He is truly a servant who cares deeply and loves deeply – always putting others first. He has faithfully performed at benefit shows – too many to count – and gives sacrificially. However – over the years – the grind and pace of his life has taken its toll on him. While caring for so many others he neglected himself.

Many of us know Omar as the leader of the premier and award-winning Memphis reggae band Chinese Connection Dub Embassy. He is also the founder and leader of the new four-piece award-winning powerhouse hardcore punk band Negro Terror. Omar and CCDE are also Ambassadors for Musicians for Le Bonheur, which helps raise money for the children at Le Bonheur Hospital. Omar is also a church youth leader, praise team music director and college student with just one class remaining to finish his degree. He loves Memphis and everything it stands for but most of all he loves people just as much as he loves his Maker and his family.

Two weeks ago – Omar was having bad flu-like symptoms and was feverish and was also having severe back pain. Being Omar, he was set on pushing on through two live shows and his three Sunday church service gigs. After the first-morning church service, Omar did not realize his body was beginning to shut down on him – he was still thinking the pain and flu-like symptoms were from a pinched nerve in his back. After getting home he laid down on the floor and literally did not get up for almost a full week – daily promising his brothers that he would be better soon. Omar was not getting better and towards the end of the week seemed to be acting strange – not like himself and not making sense when he spoke. David and Joseph had seen enough and called 911. Paramedics came to the house and took him by ambulance to the hospital. He was immediately admitted to ICU at Methodist Hospital downtown and was diagnosed with a mini-stroke and a staph infection that docs determined came from a sore on his back. On top of the infection and neurological damage – Omar has suffered kidney damage from the antibiotics and other meds. All of this trauma then caused his body to go into crisis mode and he began to retain fluids – which has put him in an incredibly dangerous and life-threatening situation. Many of you have been praying for Omar, his family and the doctors and nurses who have been doing all they can to save his life. The good news is those prayers are moving the hand of God and Omar is starting to make a turn for the better but he is still very far from being out of the woods. He is now on day 10 in the ICU at Methodist Hospital and will need to continue on the antibiotics to fight the staph infection. He will soon begin physical therapy to walk again and will soon have a complete life change needing to adhere to a strict diet which will provide improved long term health & healing.

Omar – sadly like so many professional musicians in Memphis – has no health insurance. Even when he does get out of the hospital – he will continue to need meds and will be transferred to a live-in rehab facility. As I am sure you have already been thinking – his medical bills will be overwhelming! This is where we come in… please join us in helping Omar get back to doing what he loves and was born to do through his life and music – and that’s to love, teach and serve so many here in Memphis. We are so blessed to have Omar in our lives as he has given so much to all of us – now it’s our chance and our privilege to give back to him. We can do this – GO TEAM OMAR! TIME TO ROCK THIS AND ROCK IT HARD!

Geo quick facts: Memphis is a city on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, famous for the influential strains of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll that originated there. Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash recorded albums at the legendary Sun Studio, and Presley’s Graceland mansion is a popular attraction. Other music landmarks include the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Blues Hall of Fame and Stax Museum of American Soul Music – wikipedia.

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