Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff has come out in a show of support for fellow icon Toots Hibbert as the latter battles to overcome his current health challenges. Hibbert remains hospitalized with a suspected case of COVID-19, but his condition is said to be improving.
Toots, 77, has been in a medically induced coma at the University Hospital of the West Indies since last Wednesday after developing respiratory complications on August 31. Doctors have been working around the clock to try and save the life of the veteran singer.
“Blessed love to everyone. Today I heard some not so good news about my friend and fellow artists, Toots of Toots and the Maytals, that he is an induced coma, so I am sending out positive energy and positive vibrations for him to get well soon, and I am telling my fans and friends to send out the same good energies to him,” Cliff said.
According to his publicist Claude Mills, the singer is still on a ventilator but his condition is gradually improving. The hope is that he will make a full recovery as his family seeks more prayers for the 54-46 hitmaker who is credited for “inventing Reggae.”
Toots and Jimmy Cliff both had early success with producer Leslie “the Chinaman” Kong, who also produced Bob Marley’s first songs, One Cup of Coffee and Judge Not in 1962.
Kong produced 54-46, Pressure Drop, and Sweet And Dandy, which made Toots & the Maytals world-famous, as well as Cliff’s first hit Miss Jamaica. Pressure Drop and Sweet And Dandy appeared on the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which gave Jimmy Cliff stardom.
Toots has been a pioneer of reggae music, having made his name initially on the festival song circuit. His song Bam Bam was the first winning entry in the Jamaican Festival Song competition when it was launched in 1966.