Iconic reggae singer Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals is reportedly battling for his life in a medically-induced coma, with all signs pointing to COVID-19. The 78-year-old singer, whose real name is Frederick Hibbert, was admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies over the weekend after having breathing problems. Since then, his health has deteriorated.
His publicist Claude Mills said the singer is was now showing all signs of the virus. “Toots is fighting for his life and his family is asking for prayers,” Mills said. Members of the artiste’s inner circle have self-quarantined and have taken COVID-19 tests as well. Toots, a three-time winner of the Jamaica Festival Song competition, was one of the 10 finalists for 2020, with his entry, Rise Up Jamaicans.
Toots is one of the most toured artistes out of Jamaica and is known for his hours-long sets on stages across the globe. He has been consistently touring with his band, the Maytals, since the early 1970s, when his landmark album Funky Kingston made him a global superstar, opening for groups such as The Who and the Eagles.
Toots and the Maytals won the Grammy award for best reggae album in 2005 and he was awarded an Order of Distinction from the Jamaican government in 2012. Hibbert is the latest high-profile person in Jamaica to get a COVID-19 scare. The commissioner of police, Olympic sprint legend Usain Bolt, politicians Julian Robinson and D.K. Duncan and the political ombudsman, who is in charge of conduct for the general election, have all tested positive.