Legendary Reggae singer Bunny Wailer, real name Neville O’Riley Livingston, died on Tuesday (March 2) at the age of 73. Bunny Wailer was the last surviving member of the iconic reggae group “The Wailers,” which he formed along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in the early 1960s.The Wailers was, and perhaps is, the most iconic music group out of Jamaica that gained international fame and had classic reggae hits like “Stir It Up” and “Simmer Down.” Bunny Wailer broke from the group in 1974 and took on a solo career. He went on to win three Grammy Awards, and in 2017 was conferred with an Order of Merit from the Jamaican government, the country’s fourth highest honor.
It is still unclear as to the exact cause of his death; however, he had been in and out of the hospital after suffering a stroke in July 2020. Tributes have already started to pour in for the late singer, with some describing him as a legend in his own right.
Stephen Marley posted, “Sending love to the Livingston family as brother Bunny Wailer makes his transition. A founding member of the Wailers, Bob’s stepbrother, and a reggae icon in his own right, he will be missed but not forgotten. “Live for yourself and you will live in vain—live for others, you will live again. In the kingdom of JAH, man shall reign. Pass it on.” Rest in power ?? @bunnywailerarchives”
“Sending love to the Livingston family as Bunny Wailer makes his transition. A founding member of the Wailers and a reggae icon in his own right, he will be missed by not forgotten,” Cedella Marley tweeted. She continued, “Live for yourself & you live in vain-live for others, you will live again. Rest in power.”
Posted on Peter Tosh’s Instagram page courtesy of Jah B. “Rest in Power, Bunny Wailer (AKA Neville O’Riley Livingston). A true Reggae icon and Jamaican legend, a brother, a father, an uncle, a friend. Bunny played alongside Peter Tosh and Bob Marley in the most influential Reggae group of all time, The Wailers. He helped shape the genre that spread from Jamaica throughout the world. His contribution to Reggae music will live on forever. Rise in strength.”
Capleton shared a picture of himself and Bunny via Instagram with the caption, “Condolence to the family of the great legend Bunny Wailer. We give thanks for all your musical contributions. Rest In Power”
Shaggy also had some kind words for the late entertainer’s family.
“It’s clear that 2021 will not be a better year than 2020,” Shaggy shared, “This is one of the lowest moment in the history of our culture. Bunny Livingston aka: Bunny Wailer, founding member and sole survivor of the trio the Wailers, is no longer with us. This is a great loss for reggae, the Jamaican people and Reggae fans around the world. You have made us proud king’ rest well! Condolences to the family. R.I.P. Bunny .. your music will forever wail!!!”
Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, also expressed his condolences, calling the late singer’s death “a great loss for Jamaica and for reggae.”
“Today Jamaica lost a Reggae legend, the larger-than-life, Neville “Bunny Wailer” Livingston,” PM Holness said. “The last time I saw Bunny we shared a good laugh and spent quite some time talking about the influence of Rastafari in Jamaica. His contribution to Jamaican culture is priceless and his voice has touched many around the globe. We will treasure his rich legacy.”
Bunny was born on April 10, 1947, and spent his childhood days in Nine Miles, where he was raised by his father, this was where he met Bob Marley, and the two became fast friends. They were raised as stepbrothers after Marley’s mother had a daughter for Bunny’s father. When they moved to Trench Town in Kingston, they met Peter Tosh and formed the legendary reggae originally called The Wailing Wailers.
In 1965 they released their debut album The Wailing Wailers, and in 1970 their second album, Soul Rebels, was released. Their last album as a group, “Burnin,” was released in 1973. Bunny did his first solo album, Blackheart Man, in 1976 after the group broke up.
Bunny is survived by 13 children, 10 sisters, 3 brothers, and a host of grandchildren. His life partner of over 50 years, Jean Watt, has reportedly been missing since May 2020. Condolences to the Livingston family as they go through this time of bereavement.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++