Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals Dead at 77

The reggae legend died in hospital in Kingston, Jamaica

Photo: Karl Simpson

BY Alex HudsonPublished Sep 12, 2020

Toots Hibbert, frontman of the legendary reggae group Toots and the Maytals, has died. He was 77.

An official announcement from the Maytals gives no cause of death. It states that he "passed away peacefully" while "surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the Indies in Kingston, Jamaica."

Hibbert was hospitalized late last month. At the time, he was being treated in an intensive care unit and was awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. According to subsequent reports by Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, Hibbert was on a ventilator and had been placed in a medically induced coma.

Toots and the Maytals released the new album Got to Be Tough just two weeks ago. The group's career dates back to the 1960s, and their 1968 song "Do the Reggay" is cited as the origin of the genre name "reggae." The breakthrough 1969 hit "54-46 That's My Number" was named after Hibberts's prison number following his arrest for cannabis possession. Other notable highlights include "Pressure Drop," "Funky Kingston" and a cover of John Denver's "Country Road."

Born Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert, Toots is survived by his wife of 39 years and seven of his eight children. Read the announcement of his passing below.

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