Barrett’s son, Aston Barrett Jr., shared the news of his father’s passing in a social media post on Saturday (February 3rd).
“With the heaviest of hearts, we share the news of the passing of our beloved Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett after a long medical battle,” he wrote. “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.”
Barrett hailed from Kingston, Jamaica. He initially played in Lee “Scratch” Perry’s house band, The Upsetters, before joining The Wailers with his brother Carlton in 1971.
As a member of The Wailers, Barrett was charge in charge of song arrangements and also co-produced and engineered several of the group’s albums, including Catch a Fire and Exodus.
Barrett left The Wailers in 1981, and later sold the group’s label, Island Records, seeking £60 million in unpaid royalties The case was eventually dismissed.
Barrett earned his nickname “Family Man” from being a band leader, but it became even more appropriate as he fathered 41 (!) children.
One of Barrett’s sons, Aston Barrett Jr., portrays his father in the upcoming Bob Marley biopic, One Love.