Grange saddened at Toots passing

Grange saddened at Toots passing

Sunday, September 13, 2020

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ENTERTAINMENT and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange is expressing deep sadness at the passing of reggae legend Frederick “Toots” Hibbert.

He was the lead singer of the 58-year-old group Toots and the Maytals.

Hibbert, 77, passed away at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Friday night. He was undergoing treatment for respiratory complications and had been placed in a medically-induced coma.

“I can't adequately express how much this hurts. Toots was a product of the West Kingston Cultural Movement and I have known him for decades. I remained very optimistic that he would pull through but it didn't end that way. I am praying and sending thoughts of hope and strength to his wife and family. Jamaica is grateful for his life and work and the contribution he made to the development of reggae music,” said Grange in a statement.

Hibbert was one of the 10 finalists in the recently concluded Jamaica Festival Song Competition — a contest he won three times.

“Just recently he participated in the Festival Song Competition of which he was the first winner in 1966. It was a demonstration of his commitment to Jamaica. Toots was well loved across the music world and his wonderful character and vocal abilities will be missed. I will continue to support the family as they go through this difficult time,” Grange said.

Hibbert won the inaugural contest with Bam Bam. He would go on to win the competition two more times --- 1969 ( Sweet & Dandy) and in 1972 ( Pomps And Pride).

Last December, Grange was guest speaker at the inaugural Jamaica Observer Entertainment Awards.

Hibbert, Sonny Roberts, and Anthony “Chips” Richards were lauded for their role in spreading the music globally.

In 2012, Hibbert was awarded an Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaica's music.

His songs include Pressure Drops, Monkey Man, and Funky Kingston.

— Brian Bonitto

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