Tributes continue to flood social media platforms for Third World founder Michael Ibo Cooper, who died at his home in St Andrew on Thursday (Oct 12).
Music News understands that the veteran musician and educator died peacefully after a brief illness.
On his verified Instagram account, Prime Minister Andrew Holness wrote, “I am deeply saddened at the news that one of Jamaica’s most talented and prolific musicians and founder of one of Jamaica’s finest reggae bands, Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, has passed.”
“Most Jamaicans were exposed to his prowess on the keyboards and his energetic performances with the Grammy-nominated band Third World. He also played for the group Inner Circle. Ibo was a true cultural ambassador, taking reggae music and brand Jamaica to the farthest corners of the world.”
The PM continued, “His music of love, upliftment, and peace reflected the essence of reggae music. Indeed, he was part of the era which represented the epitome of true reggae music of love, unity, and peace.”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness noted that later in life, Cooper would extend his excellence as a musician, becoming an educator, teaching music at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. “Our students, who encountered his talent and his many fans, are better, for being exposed to his immense passion for music, culture, and the arts,” the PM stated.
Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, via her official Instagram account, has expressed sorrow and dismay over the death of Ibo Cooper. “I couldn’t believe the news when I got it. His son Arif died, his wife died after, and now Ibo is gone. It is just too much” she wrote.
Minister Grange continued, “We were close. He gave me tremendous service to the Ministry in an advisory capacity in the area of music.”
An exceptional friend, mentor and leader. That is how Third World’s Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore is remembering the late Ibo Cooper who was a founding member of the legendary Third World Band formed in 1973.
Cat Coore says having known Ibo since he was about 12 years old, Ibo was always that experienced figure who would show him the way, describing their bond as “special”.
Cat Coore says ‘Third World Friday’ to be held tonight at 29 West Minister Road, off Eastwood Park Road beginning at 7pm will be dedicated to Ibo.
IRIE FM’s Brian Schmidt remembers Ibo Cooper as an exceptional head judge for the station’s Big Break Competition which saw the birth of Tarrus Riley, Stevie Face, Lavaska, Prophecy, and late Danish singer Natasja Saad among others.
Entertainer Cecile, who in her tribute, remembers Ibo Cooper as a family man, a great musician, a great teacher, and just a wonderful human being, shared a personal experience with the musical great. “My dad used to send me to Ibo’s house on the weekends to do music. This was where I started to turn my poems into songs. Cool, calm, even when stern, his demeanour was everything. Walk good great teacher”, she wrote, in part.
In the comment section of Cecile’s tribute to Ibo Cooper, fellow Dancehall deejay Lady G wrote, “He also taught me a little piano lesson. Great person. Condolences to his family. RIP Ibo Cooper”.
Michael Ibo Cooper’s passing comes after his wife, Joy, died last month and his son, Arif, passed away in March.
He was 71.