Rex Nettleford, one of Jamaica’s cultural icons, died Tuesday at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C., a week after suffering a heart attack at a hotel on Jan. 27. He was 76.
Nettleford, who was vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies, was also a sociologist and choreographer who founded the National Dance Theatre Company.
“Jamaica and the entire world have lost an intellectual and creative genius,” Prime Minister Bruce Golding said, according to The Associated Press. “Rex Nettleford was an international icon, a quintessential Caribbean man, the professor, writer, dancer, manager, orator, critic and mentor.”
Nettleford, who was born in rural Trelawny parish in February 1933, long called for positive portrayals of Jamaica’s black majority, the AP reported.
His 1969 book, Mirror Mirror, examined the status of black Jamaicans nearly 10 years after the island became independent.
He reportedly called for Great Britain to pay reparations to Caribbean residents for its part in the transatlantic slave trade.
Pictured above is Rex Nettleford.