Reggae icon Toots Hibbert is "stable and being closely monitored" after being hospitalized with "breathing problems" and placed in a medically-induced coma.
Jamaica's Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange has dismissed rumors that the star, real name Frederick Hibbert, has died, insisting, "Toots' condition is stable as it has been for the last few days."
"His condition is being closely monitored by doctors," she added, assuring, "the report (of his death) is false."
Grange also made an urgent appeal for members of the public to donate blood on the 77-year-old Toots and the Maytals frontman's behalf.
"Although Toots is critically ill, he is slowly making steady progress, and being given all the necessary support," she said. "He is making steady improvements daily. We are asking those who are desirous of giving support and are willing to do so, to donate blood to Mr Hibbert's account at the Blood Bank at UHWI or at Slipe Pen Road."
Grange has been in close dialogue with the medical team caring for the star at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). She concluded her message by urging fans to pray for the hitmaker's recovery.
"Please display the appropriate respect to Toots and his family. Please desist from spreading these baseless rumours," Grange pleaded. "Exercise some sensitivity, keeping in mind that his family is deeply concerned during this most difficult period."
"What we all need at this time is a lot of positive thoughts and prayers for Toots' recovery," she added.