Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, the grandson of Bob Marley and son of Stephen Marley, has died aged 31.
News of the reggae artist’s death was confirmed to Rolling Stone on Tuesday (27 December). A cause of death has not been announced.
Political figures in Jamaica have paid tribute to the late musician.
The country’s Minister for Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Honourable Olivia Grange, said that she was “deeply saddened by the news”.
“We were graced by Joseph, whose stage name was Jo Mersa, performing at our Jamaica 60 Launch in Miramar, Florida, USA in May,” she wrote on Twitter.
“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 wrote about the “tragic loss”.
“A talented young reggae artiste, son of Stephen Marley & grandson of Bob Marley at only 31 years old,” he said. “The loss of a child is a devastating blow no parent should face, my condolences to Stephen & the entire family.”
Marley was born on 12 March 1991 in Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to Miami when he was 11.
He made his music debut in 2010 with the track “My Girl”, on which he collaborated with his cousin Daniel Bambaata Marley.
He released his first EP titled Comfortable in 2014. His debut album Eternal arrived in 2021.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Marley spoke about growing 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,” 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 was intent, however, on making his own way in music separate from his famous relatives.
“I am one of the new generation of Marleys, but I am still experimenting at the same time,” said the late musician. “My plan is to do something new with my roots.”