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Reggae's Bunny Wailer, last Wailers member, dies at 73
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Reggae's Bunny Wailer, last Wailers member, dies at 73

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We’ve had to say goodbye to some beloved musicians, athletes, actors and more. Here's a look at the stars we've lost so far in 2021, through January.

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Bunny Wailer, a reggae luminary who was the last surviving member of the legendary group The Wailers, died on Tuesday in his native Jamaica. He was 73.

Wailer, a baritone singer whose birth name is Neville Livingston, formed The Wailers in 1963 with late superstars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh when they lived in a slum in the capital of Kingston. They catapulted to international fame with the album “Catch a Fire" and also helped popularize Rastafarian culture among better-off Jamaicans starting in the 1970s.

Jamaica Obit Bunny Wailer

In this Feb. 6, 2005, file photo, Bunny Wailer performs at the One Love concert to celebrate Bob Marley's 60th birthday, in Kingston, Jamaica.

"Jah-B was a vanguard, always pushing the boundaries of expression, whether in song, in style or in spoken word,” said Brian Paul Welsh, a local reggae musician known as Blvk H3ro. “There was and can only ever be one Neville Livingston.”

Wailer died at Andrews Memorial Hospital in the Jamaican parish of St. Andrew of complications from a stroke in July, manager Maxine Stowe told The Associated Press.

His death was mourned worldwide as people shared music, memories and pictures of the renowned artist.

“The passing of Bunny Wailer, the last of the original Wailers, brings to a close the most vibrant period of Jamaica’s musical experience,” wrote Jamaica politician Peter Phillips in a Facebook post. “Bunny was a good, conscious Jamaican brethren.”

Jamaica's Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, also paid tribute to Wailer, calling him “a respected elder statesman of the Jamaican music scene,” in a series of tweets.

While Wailer toured the world, he was more at home in Jamaica's mountains and enjoyed farming while writing and recording songs on his label, Solomonic.

″I think I love the country actually a little bit more than the city,″ Wailer told The Associated Press in 1989. ″It has more to do with life, health and strength. The city takes that away sometimes. The country is good for meditation. It has fresh food and fresh atmosphere — that keeps you going.″

A year before, in 1988, he had chartered a jet and flew to Jamaica with food to help those affected by Hurricane Gilbert.

He was the third and last remaining Wailer. Marley died in 1981 of a brain tumor at 36 years old, and Tosh was fatally shot in Jamaica in 1987 at 42 years old.

Photos: Notable Deaths in 2021

Already, 2021 has seen the passing of several notable people in news, entertainment and sports. A look at those we've lost this year.

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