Iconic reggae performer Bunny Wailer, who was the final surviving member of the Wailers, has passed away at the age of 73, according to Pitchfork. Wailer co-founded the iconic reggae outfit alongside the late Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in 1963, and was largely considered to be one of reggae’s leading figures. Jamaican media reported that Wailer suffered a stroke last year, which led to frequent hospital visits, however an exact cause of death has not been announced.
Born Neville O’Riley Livingston in Kingston, Jamaica, Wailer met Marley while they were both children in the Nile Mile village of St. Ann Parrish. The two would then be taken under the wing of Joe Higgs in Trench Town before meeting Tosh and founding the Wailers. After some time, the group would add vocalists Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso.
As one of the constant members of the Wailers during their rotating lineups in the 1960s and early 1970s, Wailer made enormous contributions to hit records such as Catch a Fire and Burnin’ which were released in 1973. Wailer reportedly grew restless from touring outside Jamaica during the Catch a Fire tour and departed from the outfit in 1974 to start a solo career. His debut album Blackheart Man came out in 1976
As a solo artist Wailer would win three Grammys, once for Best Reggae Recording in 1991 for Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley and twice for Best Reggae Album in 1995 and 1997. In 2012, the artist was awarded the Order of Jamaica honor, which was granted to “any Jamaican citizen of outstanding distinction.”