On this day May 11th 1981. The tragic death of Reggae Legend Bob Marley aged only 36 years old. Marley had been diagnosed with a type of malignant melanoma cancer under the nail of a toe in July 1977 but contrary to urban myth it wasn’t caused from a prior football injury but was in fact a symptom that had existed before the supposedly fatal football match. He did however turn down his doctors advice to have the toe amputated due to his religious beliefs. Despite his illness, he did continue to tour, and was planning a world tour in 1980. His last appearance on stage was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at The Performing Arts Center on the 23rd of september 1980. Shortly afterwards his health deteriorated and by this time had spread throughout his body. Marley had to cancel the rest of the tour and did try a controversial treatment at a Bavarian clinic, which was based on the avoidance of certain foods, drinks and other substances but unfortunately his illness worsened, and after 8 months eventually boarded a flight back home to Jamaica when his health worsened even more. After landing in Miami on route to Jamaica, Marley was taken to hospital for immediate attention. Sadly he died at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital (now the University of Miami Hospital) on May 11th 1981.
His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life”.
Bob Marley received a state funeral in Jamaica on 21st May 1981, which combined elements of Ethiopian Orthodoxy and Rastafari tradition. He was buried in a chapel near his birthplace at Nine Mile village in St Ann’s Parish with his favourite Guitar.
“His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation”.
— The final eulogy read at the funeral by the Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga.
“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake UP and Live!.”