Bob Marley’s bassist and reggae legend Aston Barrett dies aged 77

Aston Barrett has died after a ‘long medical battle’ (Picture: C Brandon/Redferns)

Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, who was the bassist of Bob Marley and the Wailers, has died aged 77.

Announcing his death, Barrett’s family said he had suffered a ‘long medical battle’ but gave no further details.

Taking to social media on Saturday, Barrett’s son Aston Barrett Jr said: ‘With the heaviest of hearts, we share the news of the passing of our beloved Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett after a long medical battle.’

‘This morning, the world lost not just an iconic musician and the backbone of The Wailers but a remarkable human being whose legacy is as immense as his talent.

‘Our family is asking for privacy during this challenging time, as words cannot express our profound loss.’

Born in 1946, Barrett grew up in Jamaica’s capital of Kingston.

His first musical success came when he became a member of the Upsetters, genre pioneer Lee Perry’s backing band.

He joined Bob Marley in 1974, and went on to play in most of the Wailers albums, featuring in many of the band’s biggest hits including I Shot the Sheriff, Get Up Stand Up, Stir It Up, Jamming, No Woman, No Cry and Could You Be Loved.

Barrett joined The Wailers in 1974 (Picture: Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Dubbed the rhythmic ‘Architect of Reggae’, Barrett also worked on classic albums by the likes of Burning Spear, Peter Tosh and countless more.

‘The drum, it is the heartbeat, and the bass, it is the backbone,’ Barrett once said. ‘If the bass is not right, the music is gonna have a bad back, so it would be crippled.’

Barrett is said to have got his ‘family man’ moniker from fathering 23 daughters and 18 sons, totalling 41 children.

In the touching tribute, Aston Barrett Jr went on to describe his father’s influence and character, as he wrote: ‘Aston’s music brought joy to millions, and his influence on reggae is beyond measure.

‘He was a man of few words, but his words carried wisdom, kindness, and love.

‘His bass lines were not just the foundation of The Wailers’ music but the heartbeat of a genre that has touched hearts around the globe.’

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