Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, the grandson of Bob Marley and son of Stephen Marley, has died aged 31. His manager confirmed the news to Rolling Stone magazine, but did not reveal the cause of his death. According to journalist Abka Fitz-Henley, Marley's lifeless body was found in a vehicle.
Radio station WZPP reported that Marley died after an asthma attack. He is survived by his wife Kerta and daughter Mystic, who is also involved in the music industry. Political figures in Jamaica have paid tribute to the late musician.
Honourable Olivia Grange, the country's Minister for Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, shared her condolences on Twitter, saying, "We were graced by Joseph, whose stage name was Jo Mersa, performing at our Jamaica 60 Launch in Miramar, Florida, USA in May.
His untimely passing at the young age of 31... 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." Mark J Golding, Jamaica's leader of the opposition and president of the People's National Party, also spoke about the "tragic loss," saying, "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 & the entire family."
Marley, who was born in Jamaica and moved to Florida during high school, where he studied at Miami Dade College, was known for his songs "Rock and Swing," "Comfortable," and "Burn It Down," among others.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Marley spoke about growing up in a musical environment and his desire to make his own way in the music industry separate from his famous relatives. "It was a very magical thing, seeing those people come around to the house and how the whole work process would happen," he said.
"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." Marley added, "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." Marley's untimely passing is a great loss to the music industry, and our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.