Toots Hibbert, founding member of pioneering reggae group the Maytals, has died, the group confirms. He was 77 years old.
"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 statement said.
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... pic.twitter.com/zOb6yRpJ7n— Toots & The Maytals (@tootsmaytals) September 12, 2020
While the cause of his death has not been announced, an August 31 Facebook post from the band said that Hibbert had been taken to intensive care and was waiting to receive the results of a coronavirus test.
"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," the statement continued.
Hibbert, born Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert, has been a music icon since the 1960s, and literally popularized the phrase "reggae" after his 1968 hit "Do the Reggay." Some of his other hits include “Pressure Drop,” “Monkey Man” and "Funky Kingston." Hibbert's death comes just a few weeks after Toots and The Maytals released a new album, Got to Be Tough. The album was the band’s first full-length LP in more than 10 years, capping off Hibbert’s decades-long career in music.
He was extremely close to Bob Marley, and the two men and their groups — the Maytals and the Wailers, respectively — would often perform together. Hibbert and Marley even both scored hits with their own recordings of "Redemption Song."
According to TMZ, Toots was injured in 2013 when someone in the audience threw a bottle at his head. The man was arrested, and when it came time for sentencing, Toots asks for leniency, saying, "He is a young man, and I have heard what happens to young men in jail." The assailant got 6 months in jail.
Hibbert is survived by his wife of 39 years, Miss D, and seven of his eight children.
Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images