Reggae Icon Ibo Cooper, Co-founder Of Third World, Dies At 71
Reggae band Third World’s founding member Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper has died. Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, confirmed on Thursday (October 12, 2023) that Cooper passed away at 71.
The reggae icon, hailed from Clarendon, has reportedly been ailing for some time. However, the nature of his ailment was not disclosed. Ibo Cooper was originally a member of the Inner Circle band, a reggae-pop group. However, he left Inner Circle in 1973 to co-found the band Third World with Stephen “Cat” Coore and Milton “Prilly” Hamilton.
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of one of Jamaica’s iconic musicians Michael “Ibo” Cooper, former member of the Inner Circle Band and Founding member of the Third World Band,” Babsy Grange said on X. “Only last month Ibo lost his wife Joy and in March, he lost his son Arif. I wish to express my condolences to his children Arianne, Akiri and Abean and to the local and international musical fraternity. Ibo was a strong and constant voice for the music industry and an exemplary music teacher.”
Cooper was an exceptionally talented keyboardist, vocalist, and songwriter who helped craft some of Third World’s biggest hits, including “96 Degrees In The Shade,” “Tribal War,” “Reggae Ambassador,” and “Sense of Purpose.”
Ibo Cooper’s wife, Joy Cooper, died last month, and his son, radio disc jockey Arif Cooper, passed away in March 2023.