As reported by TMZ, singer Johnny Nash—best known for his endlessly optimistic 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now”—has died. Nash’s son, John Nash III, told TMZ that he died at home of “natural causes,” though a specific cause of death has not been shared. Nash was 80.
Born in Texas in 1940, Nash started singing at church before getting a regular gig singing R&B songs on local TV as a teenager. That eventually led to him getting on national radio and then landing a record deal, which got him into the music industry and gave him a chance to meet his manager, Danny Sims. Together, Nash and Sims started working with Jamaican artists and eventually moved to Jamaica in hopes of introducing American singers to Jamaica and Jamaican musical trends to America.
That’s how Nash met an up-and-coming reggae artist named Bob Marley, who he signed to a record deal along with Bunny Wailer, Peter Rosh, and Rita Marley. Nash also started recording hit songs like “Hold Me Tight” and “Stir It Up,” but nothing compared to the reggae-infused song “I Can See Clearly Now,” which immediately went gold, hit number one on the Billboard charts, and established Nash as one of the first non-Jamaican artists to ever perform reggae music in Jamaica.
Subsequent recordings failed to live up to “I Can See Clearly Now,” but Nash and his breakout hit enjoyed a resurgence in 1993 after Jimmy Cliff covered it for Disney’s Jamaican bobsled movie Cool Runnings. Nash also had a brief acting career, appearing in Take A Giant Step, Key Witness, and in the Swedish romance film Want So Much To Believe (he also co-composed the soundtrack with Marley).