Jamaican reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert has sadly died, aged 77.
A statement from his family on Saturday read: “It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel ‘Toots’ Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.
“The family and his management team would like to thank the medical teams and professionals for their care and diligence, and ask that you respect their privacy during their time of grief.”
Largely renowned as one of the fathers of reggae music, the legendary musician had fronted the reggae and ska band Toots & the Maytals since the 1960s, with his death coming just weeks after the release of their first album in more than a decade, ‘Got To Be Tough’.
On seminal cuts like ‘Pressure Drop’, ‘Monkey Man’ and ‘Sweet and Dandy’, Toots’ raw vocals were often compared to the giants of soul music at the time, such as Ray Charles and Otis Redding.
The cause of Hibbert’s death is yet to be confirmed, however, his family revealed that he had been in intensive care after testing positive for coronavirus.
Read a selection of tributes left to Toots on social media below.
The Legendary Toots Hibbert has passed i spoke w/him a few wks ago told him how much i loved him we laughed & shared our mutual respect. He was a father figure to me his spirit is w/us his music fills us w/his energy i will never forget him RIP MIGHTY & POWERFUL NYAH FYAH BALL 😢 pic.twitter.com/zIofrbYZU0
— Ziggy Marley (@ziggymarley) September 12, 2020
So sad to hear of Toots Hibbert’s passing. When I first heard Pressure Drop that was a big moment – he had such a powerful voice and on stage he always gave the audience his total energy. A sad loss to the music world. pic.twitter.com/CAs9VF4X41
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) September 12, 2020
Sad to hear of the passing of Toots Hibbert. He was an early originator of Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae. Prayers and thoughts with his family and loved ones. God bless his soul.@tootsmaytals #tootshibbert pic.twitter.com/qis9ZPd7Xy
— Yusuf / Cat Stevens (@YusufCatStevens) September 12, 2020
I grew up with reggae in the house, thanks to my father. Toots Hibbert is one of those artists who was always in heavy rotation. He just dropped a new LP—two weeks before the coronavirus, apparently, took his life. He was 77 years old, but still too young. https://t.co/GGkwV3aqVK
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) September 12, 2020