He had been ill recently, but the cause of his death has not been confirmed
Ska and reggae legend Toots Hibbert, singer and band leader of Toots & The Maytals, has died at the age of 77. He had recently been taken into intensive care, due to an unspecified illness that's thought to have been coronavirus-related.
Born Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert on 8 December 1942, Toots Hibbert grew up singing gospel in his parents' Seventh-Day Adventist church, before forming a trio with two other local youths, Ralphus (Raleigh) Gordon and Nathaniel (Jerry) Matthias, who first encountered him singing in a barber's shop.
The trio, known at first simply as The Maytals, released their first single Just Got To Be in 1963, and would go on to become one of Jamaica's most successful vocal groups of the ska era, before helping to shape the emerging sound of reggae as the 60s turned into the 70s – indeed, the genre is believed by many to take its very name from their 1968 hit Do The Reggay. Other much-loved Maytals classics include 54-46 That's My Number, Funky Kingston and Pressure Drop.
The latter featured on the soundtrack to the 1973 reggae movie The Harder They Come, in which Hibbert had a minor role. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, he also worked with many artists from outside the world of reggae over the years, including Willie Nelson, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Major Lazer.
In 2012 he was awarded the Order of Jamaica, the nation's fifth-highest honour.
Hibbert was tested for coronavirus two weeks ago, but whether or not that was the cause of his death has not yet been confirmed.
Pic: Rash Yaman