Toots Hibbert, reggae pioneer and singer with Toots & The Maytals has died, aged 77 in a Kingston, Jamaica hospital.
A family statement confirmed, “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.”
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/zOb6yRpJ7nSeptember 12, 2020
No cause of death has been confirmed, but Hibbert had been admitted to intensive care on 1 September, suffering with suspected Covid-19. The singer passed away just two weeks after the release of his latest album, Got To Be Tough.
Toots was hugely influential, even credited with inventing the word reggae itself, mispronouncing the Jamaican term “streggae” as “reggae” on 1968 tune Do The Reggay (above).
"In Jamaica we had a slang," he told the BBC. "If we're not looking so good, if we're looking raggedy, we'd call it 'streggae'. That's where I took it from."
Hibbert fronted Toots & The Maytals from the early '60s, clocking up influential hits such as Pressure Drop, 54-46 (That's My Number) and Monkey Man.
They signed to Island Records in the early '70s, and appeared in the movie The Harder They Come in 1972.
Stars from across the music world are paying tribute.
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Toots HibbertSpeaking about his friend Island’s founder Chris Blackwell once said “I've known Toots longer than anybody… Toots is one of the purest human beings I've met in my life, pure almost to a fault." pic.twitter.com/kgq7if7vQgSeptember 12, 2020
The Legendary Toots Hibbert has passed i spoke w/him a few wks ago told him how much i loved him we laughed & shared our mutual respect. He was a father figure to me his spirit is w/us his music fills us w/his energy i will never forget him RIP MIGHTY & POWERFUL NYAH FYAH BALL 😢 pic.twitter.com/zIofrbYZU0September 12, 2020
Sad to hear of the passing of Toots Hibbert. He was an early originator of Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae. Prayers and thoughts with his family and loved ones. God bless his soul.@tootsmaytals #tootshibbert pic.twitter.com/qis9ZPd7XySeptember 12, 2020
We have just heard that the legend Toots sadly passed away yesterday. A statement from his family read: “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 pic.twitter.com/dL3sd08NBtSeptember 12, 2020
Rest in peace Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert, 1942-2020. @tootsmaytals supported The Who on their 1975 US tour. Toots released a new album, Got To Be Tough, last month on the @JamaicaTrojan label. pic.twitter.com/y6XFyyKpGASeptember 12, 2020
R.I.P Toots. XWhat a life, what an amazing freedom fighter and spirit lifter. This genius Toots Hibbert influenced our lives from a very early age with colours he painted in his music with such crackers as Monkey Man and Pressure Drop to name a few. His music will live on#toots pic.twitter.com/fCiyncFTFkSeptember 12, 2020