Bob Marley’s grandson, Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley, dies aged 31

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Bob Marley’s grandson, Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley, has died aged 31.

News of his death was confirmed to Rolling Stone on Tuesday. The cause of his death has not yet been confirmed.

The son of Stephen Marley, Joseph was also a musician in his own right having released a solo EP and album.

Jamaican politicians paid tribute to him, with the country’s culture minister saying she was “deeply saddened by the news”.

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The Honourable Olivia Grange wrote on Twitter: “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.”

Jamaican opposition leader Mark J Golding wrote on Twitter: “I’ve just learned of the tragic loss of Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley. A talented young reggae artiste, son of Stephen Marley and grandson of Bob Marley at only 31 years old.

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“The loss of a child is a devastating blow no parent should face, my condolences to Stephen and the entire family.”

Born into the Marley family Jamaica in 1992, Joseph moved to Miami at age 11.

Constantly surrounded by music as a child, he would sometimes go on stage with his father, as well as his uncle Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers – his aunts Sharon and Cedella.

He began writing music as a young teen, and released his first official song, My Girl, a collaboration with his cousin Daniel Bambaata, in 2010.

Four years later came his debut solo EP, Comfortable. In 2016 he joined his father on Revelation Party, a song from Stephen’s album Revelation Part 2: The Fruit of Life.

Joseph released his debut album, Eternal, featuring collaborations with reggae and dancehall artists like Busy Signal, Black-Am-I, and Kabaka Pyramid, in 2021.

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In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Marley spoke about growing up in a musical environment.

“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.”

Despite his famous forefathers, Joseph had spoken of his intention to carve out his own path in the industry.

“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.”

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