Glen Simmonds, founder of the Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival, died Monday in Atlanta, Georgia. He was 55.

His wife, Cheriel, told the Jamaica Observer that they were planning for this year’s event when Simmonds suffered a heart attack at home. She said paramedics failed to revive him and he was pronounced dead at WellStar Cobb Hospital.

During a 2013 interview with the Observer, St Ann-born Simmonds said he started the jerk festival in 2006 in “somebody’s backyard.”

It grew to become a staple on Atlanta’s West Indian calendar, attracting thousands of fans and top artistes. This year’s show is scheduled for September 1 at the Southeast Athletic Complex in Lithonia, a city just outside of Atlanta.

A graduate of York Castle High School in St Ann, Simmonds migrated to the United States in 1986. He attended Morehouse College.

In addition to the Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival, Simmonds was a broadcaster for 26 years. He was host of the Authentic Caribbean show, which airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on MAJIC 107.5 FM.

Glen Simmonds is survived by his wife, daughter Shardae, brother Maxwell and sister-in-law Marcia.

The thanksgiving service for his life takes place August 26 Seventh Spring Church in Cobb County, Georgia.


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