Reggae icon Austen Barrett, bassist for 'Family Man' Bob Marley, has died

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Austen Barrett continued to perform with The Wailers in the 2010s

Aston Barrett, bassist for legendary reggae band Bob Marley and the Wailers, has died at the age of 77.

The „family man”, as he was known, was born in 1946 and grew up in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

Announcing the death, his family said Barrett had a „long medical battle” but did not provide any details.

He was a key figure in the development of reggae. He played on almost all the Wailers albums, as well as acts like Burning Spear, Peter Tosh and more.

In a social media post on Saturday, Barrett's son Austen Barrett Jr. said: „It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that our beloved Austen 'family member' Barrett has passed away after a long medical battle.”

Austen Barrett first rose to fame as a member of reggae pioneer Lee „Scratch” Perry's backing band, the Upsetters.

He joined Bob Marley's band in 1974.

His bass work was a staple of many Wailers hits including I Shot the Sheriff, Get Up Stand Up, Stir It Up, Jamming, No Woman, No Cry and Good You Be Love.

„The drum, it's the heartbeat, and the bass, it's the backbone,” Barrett once said. „If the bass isn't right, the music is going to be bad in the back, so it's going to be paralyzing.”

Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36. With several lineup changes and different singers filling Marley's shoes, the Wailers continued to perform.

Barrett told the BBC in 2013 that he fathered 23 daughters and 18 sons. “I am the head of the family. “I have 41 as a gift [children].”

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