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Reggae Legend Frederick ‘Toots’ Hilbert (Toots & The Maytals) Dies AT 77

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*Reggae fans around the world are mourning the passing of Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, the lead singer and songwriter of Toots and the Maytals.

Hilbert, hailed as one of reggae’s foundational figures, died Friday in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 77.

“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,” read a statement that posted on the band’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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The cause of death was not revealed, but his Facebook account confirmed on Aug. 31 that Hibbert was tested for coronavirus in the last two weeks and placed in intensive care.

Toots was not only one of reggae’s cornerstones, he was a staple on the road, even appearing on stage with the Red Hot Chili Peppers to perform “Louie Louie” during a wild, 2011 New Year’s Eve bash in St. Barts. Hilbert was also featured on Willie Nelson’s album, “Countryman.”

Then there was the time Toots Hilbert 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 asked for leniency, saying, “He is a young man, and I have heard what happens to young men in jail.” The guy got still got time behind bars, but it was only 6 months.

Here’s more about Toots Hilbert via NPR:

Hibbert’s soulful, electrifying performances thrilled live music lovers for more than 50 years and brought a distinctive Jamaican expression to international audiences. His 1968 song “Do The Reggay” gave a name to Jamaica’s signature beat, but his artistry defied boundaries. His vocals are an amalgam of rousing gospel, vintage soul, gritty R&B, and classic country fused with pliant, indigenous Jamaican rhythms. Hibbert brought a stunning island lilt to Otis Redding’s standard “(I’ve Got) Dreams to Remember,” he transformed Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain” into a scorching serenade, and forever altered John Denver’s “Country Roads” into a beloved sing-along reggae anthem.

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