'Tata' dies at 68

Published: Thursday | January 1, 2009

Vincent 'Tata' Ford -Photo courtesy of the BBC

VINCENT 'TATA' Ford, co-writer of Bob Marley's classic 1974 song No Woman No Cry, has died. Paul Kelly, a spokesman for the Bob Marley Foundation, said Ford died Sunday in hospital at age 68.

He succumbed to complications of diabetes and hypertension, Kelly said. Ford lost both legs to illness years before and was wheelchair-bound.

The diminutive Rasatafarian lived in the Kingston ghetto of Trench Town during the 1960s when Marley was a member of Wailers, a harmony group that also included Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston (later Wailer).

Benevolent nature

Ford's benevolent nature, and the tenement he shared with Marley and his family, reportedly inspired No Woman No Cry which is taken from Marley's 1974 album, Natty Dread.

Ford is also credited as writer of three songs from the 1976 Rastaman Vibration album: Positive Vibration, Roots Rock Reggae and Crazy Baldhead.

Since Marley's death in May 1981, Ford became a popular figure at events honouring the reggae legend. The 'government yard' he and Marley lived in Trench Town is now the Bob Marley Culture Yard.

Ford was a regular at the Marley Museum in St Andrew. He was interviewed for several books and magazines on Marley and the Wailers.

Vincent 'Tata' Ford is survived by two children.