Reggae music pioneer, Neville “Bunny Wailer ” Livingston, has died at the age of 73, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport said in a statement.
Wailer had been in the hospital since December and died at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, Olivia Grange said in the statement Tuesday. No cause of death was given. Grange said the statement was made at the request of Wailer’s family.
“We mourn the passing of this outstanding singer, songwriter and percussionist and celebrate his life and many accomplishments,” the statement said. “We remain grateful for the role that Bunny Wailer played in the development and popularity of Reggae music across the world.”
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness also hailed the legendary musician. “Bunny Wailer has made a tremendous impact on the world setting the stage for a global movement a love for Rocksteady and reggae music. His legendary performances have touched the hearts and souls of millions of fans in Jamaica and across the world,” the prime minister said in a statement.
Wailer, whose real name was Neville Livingston, was a founding member of the Wailers, according to the statement. The Wailers also included the legendary Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley and Peter Tosh.
Marley died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36 while Tosh was killed by gunmen in 1987 at age 42.
Wailer won three Grammy awards throughout his career, two for Best Reggae Album and one for Best Reggae Recording for “Time Will Tell — A Tribute To Bob Marley,” according to the Grammys website.
The Jamaican government bestowed on Wailer the Order of Jamaica in 2012 and then in 2017 the Order of Merit, “the country’s highest honor,” according to the prime minister’s statement.
“Prime Minister Holness has extended sincere condolences to the Livingston family, friends, his musical colleagues and many supporters across the globe,” the statement said.