Legendary reggae singer Bunny Wailer has died.
Jamaica’s Culture Minister Olivia Grange confirmed the singer’s passing on Tuesday morning. His cause of death was not revealed, but multiple sources confirmed with Urban Islandz that he passed away in the Medical Associates Hospital while getting treatment for an ailment.
Bunny Wailer, whose real name is Neville O’Riley Livingston, had been in and out of the hospital since last year following a stroke. His first stroke was in July last year, where he spent several weeks in the hospital before undergoing rehabilitation. Family sources told us that he had been steadily improving since then, but recently his health significantly deteriorated.
Bunny Wailer, who is a founding member of The Wailers, spent his early life in Nine Mile, St. Ann, before moving to Kingston, where he began his career in the early 1960s when he met Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, who were aspiring singers. Bob Marley, who died of cancer in 1981, was also Bunny Wailer’s stepbrother. The three singers formed The Wailing Wailers in 1963, and the rest is history.
Bunny Wailer is one of the most iconic names in reggae music history. In 2017, he was awarded the Order of Merit, the fourth highest honor in Jamaica. Two years later, in 2019, he was again recognized by the Jamaican government for his overwhelming contribution to Jamaica’s popular music, with the Reggae Gold Award.
Wailer is best known for songs like “Bald Head Jesus, “Crucial,” and “Cool Runnings.” His album Blackheart Man is still a staple in reggae music.