Rest in Peace, ‘Toots’ Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals, Reggae Legend: 1942-2020

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Late Friday evening, the family of Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, Jamaican reggae legend and lead vocalist of the long-running reggae/ska group Toots and the Maytals, passed away Friday night at the age of 77.

As Hibbert’s family shared in a message posted to social media:

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

An official cause of death was not mentioned in the news of his passing, though Hibbert was reportedly hospitalized last month after he exhibited symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert is a legend as far as the history of reggae and its surrounding culture is concerned — Hibbert’s 1968 song “Do the Reggay” is credited as being the first popular song to use the word “reggae,” and is generally considered a major moment in the definition of the genre.

News of Hibbert’s death inspired an outpouring of love from the music community. Ziggy Marley sent out a statement, noting that he last spoke with Hibbert a few weeks ago in a message of mutual love and admiration:

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones cited the song “Pressure Drop” as a personal favorite of his in a statement:

Jagger added more in a statement to Rolling Stone:

“He was a great singer with a really powerful voice who influenced everyone in the early days of reggae. He was a great stage performer. So full of energy and vitality always giving a top class performance that I was lucky enough to witness.”

Ronnie Wood also shared his condolences.

There’s an argument that reggae as it is known today wouldn’t have existed were it not for the musical contributions of Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert. May he rest in peace, and deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans.

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