Jo Mersa Marley dead: Bob Marley’s grandson dies aged 31

Bob Marley’s grandson Jo Mersa Marley has died  (jomersamarley/Instagram)
Bob Marley’s grandson Jo Mersa Marley has died (jomersamarley/Instagram)

Bob Marley’s grandson Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley has reportedly died at the age of 31.

Political figures in Jamaica have paid tribute to the Jamaican-American reggae musician, whose father is Bob’s son Stephen Marley, after reports emerged claiming Joseph died in Florida on Tuesday morning.

The young Marley - an artist in his own right who went by the stage name Jo Mersa - was “found unresponsive in his vehicle” on Tuesday morning according to the streaming service TIDAL, who made the initial announcement.

A representative for Joseph later confirmed the news to Rolling Stone, but no cause of death has been confirmed.

The Standard has contacted a representative for Joseph for comment.

Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Honorable Olivia Grange, led tributes for Joseph on social media, writing on Twitter: “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.

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“We were graced by Joseph,whose stage name was Jo Mersa, performing at our Jamaica 60 Launch in Miramar, Florida, USA in May.

“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.’

She added: “His untimely passing at the young age of 31y.o. 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.”

Jamaica’s leader of the opposition, Mark J Golding, also paid tribute online, writing: “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 yrs old. The loss of a child is a devastating blow no parent should face, my condolences to Stephen & the entire family.”

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Joseph spent his early years in Jamaica, where he attended Saints Peter and Paul Preparatory School. He then moved to Florida where he was a student at Palmetto High School then later at Miami Dade College studying studio engineering.

He began writing his own music in primary school releasing his first official song My Girl in collaboration with Daniel Bambaata in 2010.

Four years later, Joseph released his debut solo EP, Comfortable, and in 2016 he joined his dad on Revelation Party, a song from Stephen’s album Revelation Part 2: The Fruit of Life.

In 2021 he released Eternal featuring collaborations with reggae and dancehall artists like Busy Signal, Black-Am-I and Kabaka Pyramid.

Legendary musician Bob died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36, and is widely considered one of the pioneers of reggae music. The late star had 11 children with seven different partners.