Reggae star Bunny Wailer dies at 73: Bob Marley’s former bandmate and founding member of the Wailers passes away after he suffered second stroke last year
Bunny Wailer, a reggae luminary who was the last surviving member of the legendary group The Wailers, died on Tuesday in his native Jamaica, according to his manager. He was 73.
Wailer, a baritone singer whose birth name is Neville Livingston, formed The Wailers in 1963 with late superstars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. They catapulted to international fame with the album, Catch a Fire.
In addition to their music, the Wailers and other Rasta musicians popularized Rastafarian culture among better-off Jamaicans starting in the ’70s.
Wailer’s death was mourned worldwide as people shared pictures, music and memories of the renowned artist.
The passing of Bunny Wailer, the last of the original Wailers, brings to a close the most vibrant period of Jamaica´s musical experience,’ wrote Jamaica politician Peter Phillips in a Facebook post. ‘Bunny was a good, conscious Jamaican brethren
The three-time Grammy winner died at the Andrews Memorial Hospital in the Jamaican parish of St Andrew, his manager, Maxine Stowe, told reporters.
His cause of death was not immediately clear. Local newspapers had reported he was in and out of the hospital after surviving a stroke nearly a year ago.
Livingston was born on April 10, 1947 and grew up with Bob in the Nine Mile district of Jamaica’s St. Ann Parish.
‘Following the death of Marley’s father, Norval, in 1955, Marley’s mother, Cedella, lived with Livingston’s father, Thaddeus, in Trench Town, making Bunny and Bob near-stepbrothers,’ according to Rolling Stone.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, also paid tribute to Wailer, calling him ‘a respected elder statesman of the Jamaican music scene,’ in a series of tweets.
‘This is a great loss for Jamaica and for Reggae, undoubtedly Bunny Wailer will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music industry and Jamaica’s culture,’ he wrote.
Bunny toured the world performing his hits, but was most at home in Jamaica’s mountains as he preferred farming while writing and recording songs on his label, Solomonic.
‘I think I love the country actually a little bit more than the city,’ Wailer told The Associated Press in 1989. ‘It has more to do with life, health and strength. The city takes that away sometimes. The country is good for meditation. It has fresh food and fresh atmosphere – that keeps you going.’