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Reggae record producer Bunny Lee dies aged 79

Bunny Lee attends the Q Awards 2018 at The Roundhouse on October 17, 2018 in London

Bunny Lee has died aged 79 (Picture: Getty)

Bunny Lee has died aged 79, reports have confirmed.

News of the star’s death has surfaced on Twitter, with tributes flooding in for Bunny, who helped to introduce reggae music into the UK in the 1970s.

The legendary record producer – real name Edward O’Sullivan Lee – hailed from Jamaica and was known for producing hits for the likes of Derrick Morgan, Slim Smith, Pat Kelly and The Sensations.

Jamaican broadcast Clinton Lindsay confirmed Bunny has died in a post shared to his website. It claimed Bunny had been ‘battling kidney problems’ for the past few months.

Bunny is believed to have been in and out of hospital, but the cause of his death is still unknown.

Music journalist Edward Kessler also confirmed Bunny’s death in a tweet, where he called the music star a ‘genius producer’.

Kessler wrote on the social media platform: ‘Sad to learn the mighty Bunny Lee has passed. He came to the 2018 Q Awards with the Trojan mob wearing a sailor’s cap and a pair of sliders.

‘He delivered a very, very long speech and charmed everyone. He held my hand for about ten minutes. A genius producer. RIP Bunny Lee.’

Bunny had been instrumental in bringing reggae music to the UK and had secured a licensing deal with Trojan Records.

The label paid their respects to the late producer, as they posted on Twitter: ‘Jamaican music giant, Bunny Lee, has very sadly passed away. Bunny was massively influential in shaping Jamaican music, starting as a record plugger in the 60’s, then, as a pioneering producer, from the rock steady era through to the dancehall years of the 1980’s. #ripbunnylee.’

Tributes continue to flood in for Bunny, with UB40’s official Twitter account honouring the star, as they wrote: ‘RIP Bunny Lee We lose another Legend Sleep Easy.’

David Rodigan, a reggae DJ on BBC 1Xtra and BBC Radio 2, tweeted: ‘The Reggae world has lost another iconic figure.

‘Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee was unquestionably one of the most charismatic and inspirational record producers in Jamaican music with a phenomenal catalogue of hits. He drove the music forward across the decades & will be sorely missed.’

Edward O'Sullivan Lee, aka Bunny

Bunny worked with reggae singer Derrick Morgan (above), Slim Smith and The Sensations (Picture: Rex)

Bunny, born in 1941, got his first big break in music thanks to reggae singer Derrick Morgan, who was also his brother-in-law, and he worked as a record plugger for Treasure Isle – Duke Reid’s record label – in 1962.

He produced his first hit, Rob Shirley’s Music Field, in 1967 and went on to set up his own label called Lee’s – releasing Lloyd Jackson’s Listen to the Beat as the label’s first record.

Bunny went on to produce hits such as Slim Smith track Everybody Needs Love, Stick By Me by John Holt and Max Romeo’s Wet Dream. He is also famed for working with reggae singer Johnny Clarke.

As well as reggae music, Bunny was also influential in the early days of dub music and had helped to producer the first album of Beenie Man.

Bunny is survived by his son Errol Lee, 52, who he shares with singer Marlene Webber. Errol runs a non-profit, called Caring Kids’ Concerts, that helps to mentor young people through using music.

It’s been a sad few days for the music industry as news of Bunny’s death comes after it was revealed guitarist Eddie Van Halen has died following a long battle with throat cancer.

It was also confirmed Johnny Nash – who is famed for his hit I Can See Clearly Now – died aged 80 at his home in Texas.

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Credit: Original article published here.

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