Toots Hibbert, frontman of the legendary reggae band Toots and the Maytals, has died at the age of 77.

The cause of death is as yet unclear though he had been recently tested for Covid-19.

A statement from his family said: "It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel "Toots" Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

Toots Hibbert and Willie Nelson in 2004. Photo / Getty Images
Toots Hibbert and Willie Nelson in 2004. Photo / Getty Images

"The family and his management team would like to thank the medical teams and professionals for their care and diligence, and ask that you respect their privacy during their time of grief.

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"Mr Hibbert is survived by his wife of 39 years, Miss D, and his seven of eight children."

One of Jamaica's most influential musicians, he helped popularise reggae in the 1960s with songs such as Pressure Drop, Monkey Man and Funky Kingston.

He had the number 1 single in New Zealand with his song Beautiful Woman in 1982.

He even claimed to have coined the genre's name, on 1968's Do The Reggay.

Hibbert's family said he had died on Friday.

The musician was later placed in a medically-induced coma, and a spokesman said the musician was "fighting for his life."