British Writer And Poet Benjamin Zephaniah Dies Aged 65

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

7 Dec 2023

British writer, poet and political activist Benjamin Zephaniah has died, aged 65.

Zephaniah passed in the early hours of Wednesday morning after being diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago.

An outspoken political activist, his work dealt with themes of racism, poverty, and social injustice.

“It is with great sadness and regret that we announce the death of our beloved Husband,. Son, and Brother in the early hours of this morning (7 December),” a statement posted on his social media channels read. “Benjamin was diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago.

“Benjamin’s wife was by his side throughout and was with him when he passed. We shared him with the world and we know many will be shocked and saddened by this news,” the statement continued. “Benjamin was a true pioneer and innovator, he gave the world so much.

“Through an amazing career, including a huge body of poems, literature, music, television, radion, Benjamin leaves us with a joyful and fantastic legacy.”

The acclaimed poet frequently appeared on British tv shows including The Bill and BBCs Peaky Blinders in 2013. 

Zephaniah famously turned down an OBE in 2003, writing: “Benjamin Zephaniah OBE – no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.”