Reggae legend Neville O’Reilly Livingstone, popularly known as ‘Bunny Wailer’, ‘Bunny Livingstone’ and most affectionately as ‘Jah B’, has died.
He died at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston on Tuesday. He was 73.
Bunny Wailer was the lone front-line surviving member of the iconic group, Bob Marley and the Wailers, and has long been a stand-out figure on both local and international reggae stages.
At the request of the family, I announce with deepest sadness, the passing of the patriarch, brother, friend and Jamaican music icon, the great Bunny Wailer.
Bunny Wailer, whose given name is Neville O’Riley Livingstone, passed away at 9am today at Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston. He had been in hospital since December 2020.
“We mourn the passing of this outstanding singer, songwriter and percussionist and celebrate his life and many accomplishments,” Minister of Culture and Entertainment Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange said in a statement.
“We remain grateful for the role that Bunny Wailer played in the development and popularity of Reggae music across the world. We remember with great pride how Bunny, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, took Reggae music to the four corners of the earth. Today, the last surviving Wailer has passed. His son Abijah said to me this morning that ‘Bunny Wailer cannot die, he has transitioned’.
“What Bunny Wailer has done for Reggae, as one of the pioneers and standard-bearers of our country’s music, lives on. Let us hold dear Bunny’s music, his memory and his family. I ask that you remember his family, including his wider Reggae family, in your prayers at this time.”
Born in 1947, ‘Jah B’ was a singer, songwriter and percussionist, who, along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, were members of the Wailers.
A three-time Grammy award winner, he is considered one of the long-time standard-bearers of reggae music.
In 2017, he was conferred with the Order of Merit (OM), the fourth-highest honour in Jamaica, for his contribution to popular music.