Reggae legend Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, the bassist with Bob Marley and the Wailers, has passed away at the age of 77. The news was announced by his family, mentioning that his death followed a prolonged medical struggle. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Family Man was a multi-instrumentalist and producer, contributing significantly to the band’s albums. Despite his nickname being unrelated, he fathered 41 children, including 23 daughters and 18 sons.
His son Aston Jr wrote on social media: “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.”
Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, recognized for his “deliciously deep, mellow voice,” was the last surviving member of the Wailers. In a 2013 interview with the BBC, he expressed his conviction in the transformative power of music and his commitment to preserving “the spirit of Bob Marley alive through reggae music.”
“It was relevant then and it’s relevant now and I’m sure it will be relevant in the future,” he said.
Barrett still liked performing the iconic tunes Stir It Up and Redemption Song years after they became popular.
Barrett died early Sunday morning at the University of Miami Hospital in Florida, according to Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Olivia Grange, on X.
“This pioneer of Jamaican music was also a mentor to many Jamaican artistes and musicians including the ‘Riddim Twins’, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare,” she wrote.
“I wish to express my sincere condolences to his wife, his children, his relatives and to members of the local and international Reggae Music fraternity. May the Angels welcome home Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett to Mount Zion.”