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Toots' Grammy win 'bittersweet' for reggae icon's family

The family of Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert has described as "bittersweet" the reggae icon's posthumous Grammy Award.

Toots and The Maytals won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with 'Got to be Tough' on Sunday, six months after their legendary frontman died of COVID-19 complications.

In a statement Monday, Toots' family said they are happy that he won the Grammy Award but added that they "are deeply saddened that he’s not around to celebrate this great achievement." His daughter, Leba Hibbert said, “This is a bitter-sweet moment for my family. We’re very happy that our patriarch has won his second Grammy Award. My father was a phenomenal gift to this world and we’re happy that he was able to touch the hearts of so many people with his music and we’re very grateful that he has won another Grammy Award. I just wish he was here to enjoy it with us. “On behalf of my mother Mrs Doreen Hibbert and the rest of the family, I want to thank all the people who have supported my father’s music throughout the years. I also want to thank the members of his band, Zack Starkey, Sshh and Trojan Jamaica, Cameron Husty, Sly Dunbar, Cyril Neville, Jo Murray, Eric Gardiner, Hartwig and everyone at BMG Rights, Eric Baker, Adam, Rob and Larry at Primary Wave," she added.

This is Toots and the Maytals' second Grammy Award for the Best Reggae Album. They won the award in 2005 with ‘True Love.’ The other nominees for Best Reggae Album this year were ‘Higher Place’ by Skip Marley, ‘One World’ by The Wailers, ‘Upside Down 2020’ by Buju Banton, and ‘It All Comes Back to Love’ by Maxi Priest.

Toots Hibbert’s manager up to the time of his death Eric Baker is also elated about him winning another Grammy Award. “Toots was a true pioneer in music. This Grammy is a testament that the the industry recognises his greatness and he’s still a leader in reggae music. His family, his studio, the stage and his legion of fans around the world was his life. I’ve been all over the world with him and no matter what continent we were on, Toots treated everyone he met like they were the most important persons in the world. Only a true star can do that. Congrats FireBall. You deserve this honour,” Baker said. Editor of Rolling Stones Magazine Jason Fine is also happy about the posthumous Grammy win.

“Toots put years of work into the songs for this album, it was urgent to him, necessary, to share his hard-earned wisdom, his joy and his pain through his music; to call out the injustices he saw and to blaze a path to a better future. He didn’t do it for awards, but he would have loved this moment. I imagine if he was here he’d gather his friends and family, pour a celebratory drink, then go right back to the studio to work on new songs. That’s what Toots was always about, hard work and eternal hope. Long live Fireball!” Fine said.

Co-producer of the album Zak Starkey of Trojan Jamaica said, “It is an honour and a privilege to have known and to have recorded with one of the true greats of music. We are blessed to have had Toots' incredible energy around us. He will be in our hearts forever.”

Cameron Husty of BMG also lauded Toots for his great contribution music world.

“Toots' pure passion and continuously flowing energy and creative expression inspires hope, unity and healing in us all. His resounding gifts will continue to reverberate for ages," he said.

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