Image: Jonathan Mason. The last album by Toots and the Maytals was released in June, 2020. Toots Hibbert died three months later.

The death of Toots Hibbert, which was announced on Twitter comes just weeks before the release of Got to Be Tough, the band’s first full-length album in more than a decade.

Described as “the world’s greatest living reggae singer” in a Rolling Stone profile last month, his vocal style has been compared to Otis Redding. The magazine lists him as one of the 100 greatest singers of all time.

Tributes poured in to for the legendary musician on social media.

UK actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry said he was “so sorry” to hear of his death.

“His music was a constant in our house growing up,” he tweeted. “His voice was powerful and adaptable to funk, soul, country, AND reggae. Rest in power.”

Reggae and pop group UB40 said Hibbert’s music “influenced and inspired us to love reggae music from an early age”, while UK artist Ghostpoet wrote: “Another legend returns to the earth. What an impact he made in his time here.”

Hibbert’s death, after being tested recently for Covid-19 and placed in intensive care, comes just months after the release of a first new album for many years, which was announced on Twitter in June.

 

So he went out the way he wanted, playing music to the end. As he said it, “Got To Be Tough When Things Get Rough”.