Bunny Wailer, the iconic Jamaican reggae singer that established the Wailers band with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and happened to be the last surviving founding member, has died at a hospital after he suffered stroke. He died at the age of 73.
While reacting to his death, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness called Bunny “a respected elder statesman of the Jamaican music scene” and said “This is a great loss for Jamaica and for Reggae.”
Bunny Wailer was christened Neville O’Riley Livingston but he was popularly known as Bunny Wailer, Bunny Livingston or Jah B. He hailed from Trench Town, a poor down town community of Kingston that later inspired one of the Wailers’ hits.
The Grammy-award winning artist met Marley and Tosh at a very young age and the trio founded the Wailers in 1963. Around a decade later, the group was signed by producer Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, which earned them their fifth album, “Catch a Fire” and international fame.
They were credited with making reggae music famous and they toured the world and produced many hit songs in the ska and rocksteady styles. Their hit songs include “Simmer Down,” “Lonesome Feeling,” and “Thank You Lord.”
Bunny eventually left the group with Tosh and became a solo artist, while Marley started tour with new band members as Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Bunny Wailer delivered 10 albums and won Grammys for Best Reggae Album for “Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley” in 1991, “Crucial! Roots Classic” in 1995, and a tribute to Bob Marley in 1997. Bunny’s hit songs as a solo artist included “Cool Runnings” and “Bald Head Jesus.”
He bagged many Jamaica’s highest honors like the Order of Merit and the Order of Jamaica.
He suffered several strokes recently and died after being hospitalized since December for the stroke encounter he had last, according to the Ministry of Culture.