Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley, grandson of Bob Marley, has died at the age of 31.
On Tuesday, Rolling Stone magazine confirmed his death. His cause of death has not been confirmed.
The son of Stephen Marley, Joseph is a musician in his own right, with solo EPs and albums.
Jamaican politicians paid tribute to him, and the country’s culture minister said she was “deeply saddened by the news”.
The Honorable Olivia Grange MP tweeted: “Joseph, stage name Joe Melsa, launched at Jamaica 60 in Miramar, Florida, USA in May. Perform at the meeting and add luster to us.
“His untimely death at the age of 31…a great loss to music as we look forward to the next generation. May he find eternal peace as we celebrate with family and friends in this season of goodwill Time to mourn his loss and our love for each other.”
Jamaican Opposition Leader Mark J Golding tweeted: “I have just learned of the tragic passing of Joseph ‘Joe Melsa’ Marley. A talented young reggae artist, son of Stephen Marley and bob marley Only 31 years old.
“Losing a child is a devastating blow no parent should have to deal with, and my condolences go out to Stephen and the entire family.”
Joseph was born in Jamaica in 1992 into the Marley family and moved to Miami at the age of 11.
He was always surrounded by music as a child, sometimes taking the stage with his father and his uncles Ziggy Marley and Melody Makers – his aunts Sharon and Cedella.
He started making music as a teenager and released his first official song, “My Girl,” in 2010, in collaboration with his cousin Daniel Bambaata.
Four years later, he released his first solo EP, Comfortable. In 2016, he joined his father at Revelation Party, a song from Stephen’s album Revelation Part 2: The Fruit of Life.
Joseph released his debut album Eternal in 2021, which included collaborations with reggae and dancehall artists such as Busy Signal, Black-Am-I and Kabaka Pyramid.
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In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Marley spoke about growing up in music.
“It was a pretty amazing thing, seeing those people come around the house and how the whole process of working happened.
“I’d go home and try to do my homework, but I’d end up getting distracted and peeking into the studio. You always want to run in and out to see what’s going on.”
Despite his famous ancestry, Joseph has expressed his intention to forge his own path in the industry.
“I’m part of a new generation of Marleys, but at the same time I’m still experimenting. My plan is to do something new with my roots.”