Neville O’Riley Livingston, the acclaimed reggae musician and founding member of iconic band The Wailers, passed away on Tuesday in the Jamaican capital of Kingston at the age of 73, his manager confirmed to local newspaper Jamaica Observer.
Though his cause of death wasn’t disclosed, Livingston had reportedly been in and out of the hospital after suffering a stroke in July last year.
Going by the moniker Bunny Wailer, the deceased musician teamed up with fellow reggae icons Bob Marley and Peter Tosh to form the award-winning group, The Wailers. After the release of their first album – The Wailing Wailers – in 1965, the group temporarily went on a break as Livingston was imprisoned for marijuana possession while Bob Marley also relocated to the United States, according to BBC. The band eventually reunited and released other albums including Soul Rebels (1970), Soul Revolution (1971) and the critically-acclaimed Catch a Fire Burnin’. The 1973 album, which achieved significant commercial success in the United States, featured popular hits including Small Axe, I Shot The Sheriff and Get Up, Stand Up.
Livingston later pursued a solo career in 1974 after parting ways with The Wailers as a result of differences. He went ahead to also release several critically-acclaimed albums including Blackheart Man, Protest, Rock ‘n’ Groove and Bunny Wailer Sings The Wailers.
Here are three facts you may not know about the deceased reggae icon below:
He and Bob Marley were ‘step-brothers‘
Born April 10, 1947, Livingston and Bob Marley were childhood friends and they knew each other since they were toddlers. Bob Marley’s mother, Cedella, also had a daughter with Livingston’s father, Thaddeus. This was after Cedella moved to stay with Thaddeus following the death of Marley’s father in 1955, BBC reported. As a result of that connection, Livingston and Marley were raised as step-brothers.
Last surviving member of The Wailers
Before his death, Livingston was the last surviving member of The Wailers. Marley died of cancer in 1981 while Peter Tosh was fatally shot during a home robbery in 1987.
Three-time Grammy winner
Livingston is a three-time Grammy-award winner, taking home the best reggae album for Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley (1991), Crucial! Roots Classics (1995) and Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley’s 50th Anniversary (1997). He also received Jamaica’s fourth highest honor – the Order of Merit – in 2017, Jamaica Observer reported.