Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, 77-year-old frontman of the legendary reggae act Toots & the Maytals, is in stable but serious condition in a private medical facility in Jamaica, a rep tells Variety. He was tested for Covid-19 earlier in the week and although the results have not been announced, his family issued a statement late Wednesday that says he is in “stable” condition and recovering from an undisclosed condition.
“Mr. Hibbert’s family would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and prayers during this time,” the statement reads. “The medical professionals at [University Hospital of the West Indies] — where Mr. Hibbert is being taken care of — have confirmed he is in a stable condition and is receiving around the clock treatment to ensure his body can recover. The Hibbert family is asking that everyone continues to hold him in their thoughts and prayers and respectfully ask for privacy during this time.”
Hibbert’s ailment comes just days after Toots and the Maytals released their first album in more than a decade, “Got to Be Tough.” The album was co-produced by Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son and longtime drummer for the Who) and features contributions from Ringo, Ziggy Marley, Sly Dunbar and Cyril Neville.
A friend and contemporary of Bob Marley’s, Hibbert is one of the pioneers of reggae music, having begun his career early in the 1960s and releasing one of the first early hits of the genre, “Do the Reggay.” Outside of Jamaica he is probably best known for his song “Pressure Drop,” which appears in the influential 1972 film “The Harder They Come” and was later covered by The Clash.