MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis music community is mourning the loss of an icon.
Omar Higgins was well known throughout the community as a talented musician and proud activist.
He was a man of principle who loved this city.
The marquee sign outside Growlers reads, “Rest in Peace Omar. We love you big homie” in homage to Higgins.
He died Saturday night from health complications due to a staph infection.
Those who knew him say he leaves a huge hole in the Memphis music scene.
"He's a legend in this city," said Tori Evans, musician.
"We kind of lost a big brother of the Memphis community," said Octavia Jones, friend.
Higgins is a hard man to define succinctly.
A perfect example is the two bands he was apart of.
One was a reggae group called "Chinese Connection Dub Embassy."
The other was a hardcore punk band called "Negro Terror."
“Phenomenal. To be able to sing, to be able to write, and be able to play various genres of music. I mean, he was like a chameleon,” said Jones.
Higgins played all over Memphis, even performing inside the FedEx Forum and at Memphis in May.
He didn't grow up in the Bluff City but he called Memphis home.
In a 2016 video, Higgins responded to negativity about Memphis online.
“A lot of [us] weren’t born here, but we lived here long enough to say we’re Memphians and proud. Love yourself and love this city,” said Higgins.
Friends describe Higgins, who was an Army veteran, as a music advocate.
“The content of his music, if you really paid attention, spoke volumes,” said Evans.
His band, “Negro Terror,” broke racial boundaries in the punk rock scene. The band was the focus of documentary that was released this year.
“Attitude of real unity, of understanding where we come from as a people. That’s my world view,” said Higgins.
Growlers is hosting a benefit concert on May 23, to help the Higgins family pay his medical bills and funeral expenses.
If you would like to contribute now, click here.