Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Lead singer of the iconic reggae band, Third World, William 'Bunny Rugs' Clarke is dead.
Clarke, who would have turned 66 this Thursday, February 6, passed away last night in a hospital in Orlando, Florida.
He had been diagnosed with cancer and had been battling the disease in intensive care.
It is reported that because of health problems, he missed some of the shows in Third World's 40th anniversary tour in 2013.
Clarke, who has helped to shape the history of reggae, has spent the past 31 years with Third World.
WATCH: Bunny Rugs and Third World at Jamaica Jazz and Blues 2013
His musical career began at age 15.
READ: Rugs Takes 'Time' For Social Commentary
For years he was a member of the renowned Inner Circle band and the duo, Bunny and Ricky.
His death, which comes at the start of Reggae month has sent shock waves throughout the entertainment industry, with several tributes on Facebook last night.
Junior Taylor, a former tour manager of the group, said Bunny Rugs' death was the end of a voice that was very distinctive.
"A voice that throughout the 1970s and 80s, made an impact globally for reggae music.
"It's not the most pleasant way to start reggae month," he noted adding that Rugs was a very jovial and caring person and the consummate professional.
The outpouring of love was evident on the page of the Third World giant with comments from his fans.
"So sad to hear the news... been a fan since only a baby. Tears flowing freely for you Bunny, my love and thoughts are with you and your family as you now fly so free. Thank you for the gift of your beautiful music."
- Emprezz Kaygirl
"You have always been in my heart and soul, may your memory live forever, thank you for blessing us all with your wisdom. Rest IN Peace, brother,"
- Terri Larsen
"I'm very saddened by this news... thank you for how you touched my life through music. Sympathy and prayers to family and friends."
- Noreen Schwanke
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