Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia “Babsy” Grange has made an urgent appeal to Jamaicans to donate blood on behalf of reggae icon Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert.
In a statement, dismissing rumors of the singer’s death, Grange said that: “Toots’ condition is stable as it has been for the last few days. His condition is being closely monitored by doctors, the report (of his death) is false.”
Grange, who has been in close dialogue with the medical team entrusted with the artiste’s care at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), said while he has been making progress, he still needs blood.
“Although Toots is critically ill, he is slowly making steady progress, and being given all the necessary support. He is making steady improvements daily. We are asking those who are desirous of giving support and are willing to do so, to donate blood to Mr Hibbert’s account at the Blood Bank at UHWI or at Slipe Pen Road,” Grange said.
She upbraided members of the public who have been spreading rumours of the artiste’s death, and encouraged members of the public to pray for the cultural icon’s recovery.
“Please display the appropriate respect to Toots and his family. Please desist from spreading these baseless rumours. Exercise some sensitivity, keeping in mind that his family is deeply concerned during this most difficult period. What we all need at this time is a lot of positive thoughts and prayers for Toots’ recovery,” Grange said.
Hibbert, 77, was hospitalised late August after he developed “breathing problems” and later began to show other symptoms of COVID-19. He was subsequently placed in a medically-induced coma and is in critical but stable condition.