Bob Marley’s grandson Jo Mersa Marley passes away at 31; 5 things to know about the reggae star

Jamaican American reggae artist Jo Mersa Marley, grandson of Bob Marley passed away aged 31. The singer was allegedly found unresponsive in a vehicle, as reported by journalist Abka Fitz-Henley on Tuesday. Reports suggest that South Florida radio station WZPP claims to have confirmed that Marley unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack.

Jo Mersa’s early life 

As reported by New York Post, Jo Mersa spent his early years in Jamaica before moving to Florida in high school. Jo was Stephen Marley’s oldest child and has seven sisters and five brothers. Jo reportedly made his stage debut at 4 when he appeared with his father, his uncle Ziggy Marley, and his aunts Cedella Marley and Sharon Marley at a performance. He reportedly studied studio engineering at Miami Dade College. IN 2014, Jo released an EP, Comfortable, which also included a title track. The artist later released his second EP, Eternal in 2021. 

Jo Mersa’s grandfather was the legendary Bob Marley

Jo is the son of Stephen Marley, who was the son of reggae legend Bob Marley. Jo’s grandfather was known to have been a pioneer in the reggae movement and released popular songs including Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, Get Up, Stand Up, Is This Love, I Shot the Sheriff among several others. Bob Marley passed away in 1981 of melanoma at the age of 36. The singer had 11 children with seven women.

Bob Marley

Marley became known as a Rastafari icon and was famously loved for his infusion of music with a sense of spirituality. He became a global symbol of Jamaican music and culture. The singer was also known for his strong political beliefs and was outspoken in his support for democratic social reforms. The singer also faced an assassination attempt in his home in 1976. 

Bob Marley’s famous tracks include

  • No Woman, No Cry
  • Three Little Birds
  • Could You Be Loved
  • Buffalo Soldier
  • I Shot the Sheriff
  • Stir It Up
  • Turn Your Lights Down Low

Jo Mersa on the Marley legacy 

Being the grandson of Bob Marley, Jo in an interview with Pier opened up about what it meant to carry the last name. He spoke about not feeling the pressure regarding the same and said, “There are things that you have to overcome and things you just have to do and that’s how it is. We have to go through life you know? There’s no pressure for me. I give thanks for being a Marley. I’m very appreciative and thankful that I am born where I am born and put where God has decided. I’m very thankful about it and proud.”

Speaking about his legendary grandfather, he spoke to Reggaeville last year and said, “We always hear those reflections, speaking about those things, about the role that he played not only as family member and father, but also in the world and the impact he had on the Reggae community and the Reggae culture, the roots, bringing forward the message of Rastafari and love, over all love.” 

Jo Mersa on his musical process

After releasing his EP, Eternal, the reggae artist opened up his musical process and especially songwriting. Talking to Jamaica Gleaner, he explained how it depends on the vibe. He said, “Because sometimes you will have a tune or idea, like a whole tune is in your head but no beat, and other times, you have a beat and no tune. That’s for me, of course. I can’t speak for everyone. Some songs I am able to finish in a night, and some take longer.”

Jo Mersa

Tributes pour in for Jo Mersa 

As the news of Jo Mersa’s death hit the news, several fans on Twitter reacted to the same and mourned the loss of the musician. Also, streaming service TIDAL paid a tribute to the late singer writing, “Forever in our hearts. RIP Jo Mersa Marley.” Also, Jamaican politician Olivia Grange wrote, “I am deeply saddened by the news that artiste Joseph Marley, son of Reggae star, Stephen Marley and grandson of Reggae super star, Bob Marley has died. We were graced by Joseph, whose stage name was Jo Mersa, performing at our Jamaica 60 Launch in Miramar, Florida, USA in May.”

In the meantime, there has been news about a Bob Marley biopic in the works. Deadline previously reported that the untitled biopic will be directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and will debut in 2024. o Time To Die star Lashana Lynch is lined up to play Bob Marley’s wife Rita in the film. British actor Kingsley Ben Adir has been cast in the role of the legendary reggae singer. The executive producers of the film, are Marley’s widow Rita, his daughter Cedella and his eldest son Ziggy. The late singer’s son previously spoke about the same and added that the film would pay homage to his father in a manner never seen before. 

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