Artistic Icon: The Life & Death of Bob Marley

Bob-MarleyBob Marley was born in Jamaica on February 6, 1945 and died on May 11, 1981. During his short life, Marley transformed the music scene. Notably, his album Exodus was named the greatest album of the 20th Century by Time magazine, and Marley was named one of the top 100 artists of all time by Rolling Stone. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Bob Marley & the Wailers, he fathered 12 children and is best remembered for his protest songs, joyous rhythms and poetic lyrics.

Before Marley, reggae music was practically unknown to those outside the industry; after Marley, the rhythms and reggae scene spread worldwide. What’s more, he wasn’t afraid to sing about political and cultural issues in his homeland and won the “Peace Medal of the Third World” in his heroic musical pleas for world peace. Despite his global musical stardom, Marley spent most of the 1970s promoting peace and a cultural understanding.

Two days after surviving an assassination attempt in 1973, he performed a peace concert and acted as a cultural ambassador for the Jamaican people and Rastafarian religion.

How Did Bob Marley Die

In July 1977, Marley injured his right foot playing soccer. When the injury wouldn’t heal, doctors diagnosed him with malignant melanoma. Doctors recommended amputation, but Marley refused because amputation was against his Rastafarian religion. Though he did have surgery to remove the infected tissue, it did not prevent the melanoma from spreading to his brain, liver, lungs and stomach. He played one last concert at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 23, 1980.

After the concert, Marley canceled the tour and sought alternative treatments in Germany. These treatments failed, and Marley headed back to Jamaica. So ill was Marley, the plane was forced to land in Florida, where Bob Marley died at the age of 36. His last words to his son Ziggy were, “Money can’t buy life.” As with most historical legends, conspiracy theories began spreading shortly after his death. Some argued that Marley was given a pair of boots by a CIA operative with a radioactive wire hidden in them. Others claim that the holistic healer in Germany killed him. Despite the theories, most agree it was cancer that took the talented Marley from us far too soon.

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