Tauna Thomas contributed to this report.
Reggae icon, Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, a member of the legendary band Third World, has died.
He was 71-years-old.
Minister of Culture, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, confirmed Mr. Cooper’s passing in a statement Thursday evening.
Tauna Thomas reports.
In a social media post, Minister Grange says she’s saddened by his passing.
The culture minister hailed Mr Cooper’s impact on the music fraternity, saying generations of musicians have been shaped by him. The prime minister and Opposition Leader have also both expressed sadness at the passing of Ibo Cooper.
Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Prime Minister Andrew Holness described Cooper as a prolific musician, who had a prowess on the keyboard.
The prime minister says his energetic performances made him a true cultural ambassador who took reggae music and brand Jamaica to the farthest corners of the world. Mr. Holness says Ibo has left a legacy of excellence buttressed by his talent and endearing personality.
For his part, Opposition Leader Mark Golding has described Cooper as a prodigious musical talent who was a maestro on the keyboards. Mr. Golding says Ibo helped to take Jamaican music to higher levels of sophisticated instrumentation.
Mr Cooper was born in Clarendon, Jamaica on January 14, 1952. He took his first steps in music with the influential reggae band, Inner Circle.
In a 2004 interview with BOMB Magazine, Cooper said he left Inner Circle, a popular pop band at the time, to co-found Third World in 1973.
Cooper explained that Third World arose out of a yearning to go against the popular currents of the time and to write music with a message.
Cooper functioned as a key boardist, songwriter and vocalist for Third World. He left the band in 1997 to become a teacher.
Music ran in the blood, with his late son Arif Cooper, becoming a prominent disc jockey and music producer.
Arif died on March 5 this year, shortly after collapsing while playing at a show in St. Andrew. Michael’s wife, Joy also died recently. Mrs. Cooper passed on September 29.
Michael is survived by his children Arianne, Akiri and Abean.