American reggae and pop singer-songwriter Johnny Nash, best known for the 1972 hit I Can See Clearly Now, has died aged 80, his family said.
Nash, whose health was in decline, died at his home on Tuesday of natural causes, his son told US media.
The musician started singing as a child and made his major label debut with the 1957 song A Teenager Sings the Blues.
Nash, born in Houston, was one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica.
His single I Can See Clearly Now sold over a million copies and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, where it remained for four weeks.
He also had number one UK hit in 1975 with Tears on My Pillow.
According to his official website, Nash helped reggae legend Bob Marley sign a recording contract.
Nash’s covers of songs like Stir It Up helped bring Marley’s music to a wider audience, and the duo went on to collaborate on a track called You Poured Sugar On Me.
‘Music is for the ears and not for the age’
In an interview with Zoo World magazine in 1973, Nash told reporter Cameron Crowe that he hoped his music had wide appeal. “I have the feeling that music is universal. Music is for the ears, not for age. Everyone loves music… from eight to 80 years old.
“There are people who say they hate music,” he added. “I have met a few of them, but I’m not sure I believe them. Maybe they’ve never been without music. You know what I mean?”
Reacting to the news of his death, singer Boy George credited Nash, with his “silk-like voice,” as one of the artists who “made me fall in love” with reggae.
British ska group The Beat described him as “a sad day for music”.
American actor John Cusack also paid tribute to the late singer online, thanking him for allowing them to use his most famous track in the 1997 film Grosse Pointe Blank.
Besides his son John, Nash is survived by his wife, Carli.
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