Toots and the Maytals’ Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert has died at 77. The Jamaican reggae legend was taken to intensive care last week and placed in a medically induced coma after displaying COVID-19 symptoms. The cause of death has not been announced. He is survived by his wife of 39 years and seven of his eight children.
An official statement reads that he “passed away peacefully” and “was surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.”
Toots Hibbert is largely credited with coining the term “reggae,” which came from his song, “Do The Reggay,” and his soulful voice made him one of the all-time greats. With a decades-long career in reggae, ska and rocksteady, he was known for songs like “Pressure Drop,” “Monkey Man” and “54-46 Was My Number.” His album Funky Kingston, released in 1972 in the U.K. and 1975 in the U.S., is considered one of the greatest albums of all time.
Toots had just recently released his new album Got To Be Tough, the first from Toots and the Maytals in a decade. It featured Ziggy Marley, Ringo Starr, Zak Starkey and more. Paste praised the album for Toots’ “warm, stony voice that has resonated for decades and continues to do so.”