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Jo Mersa Marley, Bob Marley’s grandson, has died at age 31

Jamaican-American reggae artist Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley – son of eight-time Grammy winner Stephen Marley and grandson of the legendary Bob Marley – has died at the age of 31.

According to South Florida radio station WZPP, the young Marley was found unresponsive in his vehicle on Tuesday morning (December 27), having “passed away unexpectedly from an asthma attack”. 

Born on March 12, 1991, Marley rose to particular prominence with his 2016 single ‘Burn It Down’, which featured his brother Yohan. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist also released an EP titled ‘Comfortable’ in 2014, and a debut album, ‘Eternal’, in 2021.

In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Marley said of his then-fledging career: “I am one of the new generation of Marleys, but I am still experimenting at the same time. My plan is to do something new with my roots.”

On how his artistry was informed by the Marley family’s musical lineage, he reflected on his childhood: “It was a very magical thing, seeing those people come around to the house and how the whole work process would happen. I would come home and try to do homework, but I’d end up getting distracted and go peek in the studio. You would always want to run in and run out to see what was going on.”

Responding to the news of Marley’s death, Olivia Grange – Jamaica’s minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport – wrote in a statement: “I am deeply saddened by the news that artiste Joseph Marley, son of Reggae star, Stephen Marley and grand son of Reggae super star, Bob Marley has died.

“I extend my deepest condolences to Stephen, Jo’s mom, Kerry, the Marleys and other family members. My heartfelt sympathies to Joseph’s friends and associates and to the Reggae music fraternity and  fans everywhere. 

“His untimely passing at the young age of 31 [years old] is a huge loss to the music as we look to the next generation. May he find Eternal Peace as we mourn his loss during this season of goodwill when we celebrate with family and friends our love for each other.”

Marley was also honoured by Jamaican opposition leader Mark J. Golding, who wrote in a statement of his own: “I’ve just learned of the tragic loss of Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley. A talented young reggae artiste, son of Stephen Marley & grandson of Bob Marley at only 31 [years] old. The loss of a child is a devastating blow no parent should face, my condolences to Stephen [and] the entire family.”

Have a look at some more tributes to Marley below: