Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert, the ska and reggae legend who led Toots and the Maytals, has died at the age of 77. A statement from Hibbert’s family that was posted on his social media confirmed his death.
“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,” his family announced through the band’s official social media channels Friday night.
A cause of death was not revealed.
Born in 1942 in May Pen, Jamaica, Hibbert was one of the most influential musicians in bringing reggae to the masses, including being credited with coining the term himself with his 1968 song “Do the Reggay.” Additional hits include 1966’s “Bam Bam,” “Sweet and Dandy,” “Monkey Man,” “Pomp and Pride” and their biggest hit, “54-46 Was My Number.” “Sweet and Dandy” and “Pressure Drop” were both featured in The Harder They Come, the classic 1972 film starring Jimmy Cliff that popularized reggae throughout the world.
The group split up in the early 1980s, before reforming in the early 1990s. Hibbert would win a Grammy in 2004 for Best Reggae Album for True Love, which featured re-recorded versions of their hits with musicians like Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, No Doubt and more.
In August, the group released their new album, Got To Be Tough, just before Hibbert was hospitalized.
Hibbert is survived by his wife of 39 years and seven children.