Eric "Redz" Morton dies on June 6, 2013
Laguna Beach lost one of its reggae legends Thursday.
Eric "Redz" Morton, a bassist who helped start The Rebel Rockers band has died, friend Nick Hernandez said Thursday afternoon.
"He Morton was one sweetheart of a man; he would never hurt anybody," Hernandez said.
Morton was instrumental in promoting reggae music and hailed from Laguna Beach, where Chuck Harrell first met him.
Morton started playing at the Sandpiper lounge on Coast Highway in the early 1980s and last performed about three weeks ago, said Harrell, who has co-owned the Sandpiper for 43 years.
"He's a legend in this area," Harrell said. "He was a mellow person, never was a problem, and was always ready to play."
The Rebel Rockers were a pioneering band from Laguna, helping to popularize beach reggae sound, according to a 2009 Laguna Beach Magazine story.
The group started in 1979 when Morton met Debra Lee Sullivan, who became lead singer, Laguna Beach Magazine reported.
The Rebel Rockers were in high demand as one of Southern California's few reggae bands during the 80s, playing five or six nights a week, Sullivan told Laguna Beach Magazine.
Morton, or "Redz" as he is known for his red dreadlocks, filled in with other bands, too, as Harrell said is common for reggae musicians.
Sullivan and Morton even recorded in Bob Marley's Tuff Gang studio and worked with other reggae artists to hone their craft, according to a February Coastline Pilot story.
Morton's family could not be reached for comment Thursday.