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Toots Hibbert, Jamaican Reggae Legend, Dies Aged 77

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, September 2019 (Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert, Jamaican singer and songwriter, known as the leader for the reggae and ska band Toots & the Maytals, has passed away. He was 77.

Hibbert’s 1968 song “Do the Reggay” is widely credited as the genesis of the name for Reggae music.


“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,” his family said in a statement.

“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. Mr. Hibbert is survived by his wife of 39 years, Miss D, and his seven of eight children.”

Although no cause of death was given, Hibbert was hospitalized last month after showing symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

Ziggy Marley, the son of reggae star Bob Marley, said he had recently spoken with Hibbert. “I spoke with him a few weeks ago [and] told him how much I loved him and what he means to me,” Ziggy Marley said in a tribute on his Instagram page.

“We laughed and shared our mutual respect. I am fully in sorrow tonight. I will miss his smile and laughter [and] his genuine nature. [Toots] was a father figure to me; his spirit is with us [and] his music fills us with his energy. I will never forget him. #foundingfather.”

Hibbert’s death comes just weeks after Toots and the Maytals released their new album, Got to Be Tough, the band’s first full-length LP in more than 10 years, Rolling Stone reports.

Hibbert was born December 8th, 1942, in May Pen, Jamaica, the youngest of eight children. His parents were both strict Seventh-day Adventist preachers so he grew up singing gospel music in a church choir.

In 1962, while working at a local barbershop, he was heard singing inside by Ralphus “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” Matthias. They would become a trio forming The Maytals – named after Hibbert’s hometown of May Pen.

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