Aston Barrett, better known as “Family Man” or just “Fams,” died early Saturday morning at the University of Miami Hospital in Florida. The longtime Bob Marley and the Wailers bassist was 77 years old. His son, Aston Barrett, Jr., shared the news on social media that the musician had passed “after a long medical battle.”
Barrett, a native of Jamaica, grew from a child in Kingston who once built his own bass guitar out of scrap material to one of the the country’s most celebrated musicians.
“Aston’s music brought joy to millions,” his son wrote. In addition to playing for Marley until the reggae singer’s death in 1981, Barrett also co-produced the Wailers’ albums and mentored young Jamaican musicians.
He said in a 2007 Bass Player magazine feature, “I’ve played before Bob, with Bob, and after Bob and along the way I create a whole new concept of bass playing. That’s just my thing. That’s my destiny.”