The reggae artist and three-time Grammy winner became known around the world alongside Bob Marley in the early 1970s

Bunny Wailer, co-founder and last living member of the Jamaican reggae group Wailers that made Bob Marley a global star, has died at the age of 73

His manager Maxine Stowe confirmed his death to the Jamaica Observer, Wailer had been hospitalized many times since a stroke in July 2020

Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, was one of those who paid tribute, expressing “deep condolences” to his family, friends and fans, and describing his death as a “great loss to Jamaica and reggae”

He was born Neville Livingston in Kingston in 1947 He and Marley became friends as toddlers and founded the Wailers in 1963, which formed a core trio of the couple alongside Peter Tosh. when Marley moved to Delaware, USA, Wailer was convicted of marijuana possession in 1967 and sentenced to 14 months in prison

They gathered after Marley’s return and Wailer’s release, in collaboration with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry and his group The Upsetters, and began recording tracks in the new, slower reggae style that had emerged from Ska, and Wailer wrote a number of songs of the group, including what would become his signature song Dreamland

By the early 1970s, the Wailers had added new members and signed on to Island Records, which – helped by the popularity of other new reggae stars like Jimmy Cliff – helped bring them to an international audience. They had a worldwide breakthrough with fifth album Catch a Fire (1973) and its follow-up Burnin, which included one of Marley’s signature songs, I Shot the Sheriff

The original trio split in 1974 when Wailer went alongside Tosh, embarking on a solo career beginning with the acclaimed Blackheart Man in 1976, and kept a steady release schedule for 40 years in 1991, 1995 and 1997, winning three Grammy awards for the best reggae album

Bunny Wailer

World News – UK – Bunny Wailer, the last surviving founding member of the Wailers, dies at the age of 73