Reggae icon Aston “Family Man” Barrett, guitarist for Bob Marley, has died

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Aston Barrett continued to perform with The Wailers into the 2000s

Aston Barrett, guitarist 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 the Jamaican capital, Kingston.

When announcing his death, his family said that Barrett had fought a “long medical battle,” but did not provide details.

He was a key figure in the growth of reggae music. He has played on almost all of the Wailers albums as well as Burning Spear, Peter Tosh and many other acts.

In a social media post on Saturday, Barrett's son, Aston Barrett Jr., said: “With heavy hearts, we share the news of the passing of our beloved Aston Barrett after a long medical battle.”

Aston Barrett first gained fame as a member of the Upsetters, the backing band for reggae pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry.

He joined Bob Marley's band in 1974.

His bass work is a key feature of many of the Wailers' songs, including “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Get Up Stand Up,” “Stir It Up,” “Jamming,” “No Woman,” “No Cry” and “Can You Be Love.”

Barrett once said: “The drum is the heartbeat, the bass is the backbone.” “If the bass isn't right, the music will be bad, so you'll be paralyzed.”

Bob Marley died of cancer at the age of 36 in 1981. The Wailers continued to perform, with several lineup changes and several singers filling in for Marley.

Barrett told the BBC in 2013 that he had 23 daughters and 18 sons. “I am the head of the family,” he said. “I'm gifted with 41 [children]”.

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