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  • Writer's pictureJamar Cleary

Reggae musician Michael 'Ibo' Cooper has died

The veteran reggae artist and founding member of the Third World Band has died at the age of 71. Earlier this year, he also tragically lost his son, Arif Cooper

Michael "Ibo" Cooper (Photo: Fernando Hevia)

Michael "Ibo" Cooper, a reggae artiste and a founding member of the reggae band Third World, has died at the age of 71. According to reports, the iconic musician had been battling cancer for several years.

His passing follows the tragic loss of his son, Arif Cooper, a renowned Jamaican producer and selector, who tragically passed away while performing on stage in March. his wife also passed away just last month.

Michael "Ibo" Cooper's musical journey included being a member of the reggae ensemble Inner Circle and playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the reggae group Third World.

Originally formed in 1973 by Cooper and the talented keyboardist and guitarist/cellist Stephen "cat" Coore, Third World left an indelible mark on the reggae scene. In 1997, Cooper parted ways with the band.

In addition to his musical contributions, Cooper later assumed the role of the head of the Caribbean, Latin American, and Jazz Department (now known as Popular Music Studies) at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston. He also served as the chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA).

The band Third World bid farewell to their past member through a heartfelt Instagram post: "God Bless your eternal soul K. Michael “Ibo” Cooper, Your music is the soundtrack of our lives".

The late artist received tribute from various figures, including Jamaica's Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Holness, who shared a post on his social media accounts. Holness remarked, "Ibo was a genuine cultural ambassador, carrying the reggae music and Jamaican brand to the farthest corners of the world. left a legacy of excellence buttressed by his talent, endearing personality and passion for his family, music and country".

Additionally, Mrs. Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, expressed her deep condolences upon hearing of the passing of the iconic Jamaican musician."I am saddened to learn of the passing of one of Jamaica's iconic musicians Michael "Ibo" Cooper, former member of the Inner Circle Band and Founding member of the Third World Band", she noted. "Generations of Jamaican musicians have been shaped by him, and our industry is better for having had him. I also benefitted from his advice as a member of the Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB). May his soul rest in perpetual peace", the minister added. dancehall superstar, Sean Paul also paid tribute to the late artiste.


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