The world knows him as Bob Marley, the Reggae legend. However, the real name of this Jamaican musician is Robert Nesta Marley. He was born on February 6, 1945, in the village of Nine Miles in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica. His father, Captain Norval Marley, was a Jamaican of English descent. He married his mother Cedalla Booker, a Jamaican girl in 1944.
Captain Marley separated from his wife soon after Bob was born. But he did provide financial support to his family and also visited his son occasionally. As Bob was growing up he was exposed to Jamaican music that was becoming popular worldwide.
In those days of low employment opportunities, most Jamaican youth turned to music. This is when Bob Marley's love and talent for music found base and he rose to become the reggae legend that he is. Just as his music is loved, his death mourned as it could have been avoided had he agreed to an amputation.
Death of Bob Marley
Bob Marley died of melanoma, cancer of the skin that began from his toes and spread to his lungs and brain. The musician first discovered that something was wrong with him when he injured his right big toe while playing a soccer match with his friends. This incident took place in 1977.
Although he initially dismissed it as something usual, the wound refused to heal. The singer finally decided to see a doctor. The medical checkup diagnosed him with melanoma and the doctor recommended amputation of the toe. However, Bob Marley refused the amputation.
Although his medical records were never made public, it is believed that he underwent a skin graft instead of amputation. However, the procedure did not stop the spread of cancer. It was either not done correctly or it was too late to save the singer's life. By the end of 1980, the cancer had spread to other parts of his body.
By this time, Marley's health had started deteriorating at a faster rate. While performing in September 1980 in New York, Bob Marley collapsed on stage. The next day he fainted while jogging in the Central Park. It was around this time that he was diagnosed with brain tumor that was the result of the untreated cancer in his toe.
Despite the grim news, his love for music made him appear for the final show of his career in Pittsburgh towards the end of 1980. There is speculation that Bob Marley underwent controversial treatment for cancer by Josef Issels, a holistic physician. However, the reggae legend soon realized that he had reached the terminal stage of his illness.
He wished to be taken back to his country. While flying back to Jamaica from Germany where he was being treated by Josef Issels, Bob's condition became critical. His plane had to land in Miami. On the morning of May 11, 1981, at the age of 36, world's legendary reggae artist died at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami, Florida.
Why Bob Marley Refused Amputation?
Bob was a follower of the Rastafari, a sect or rather an ideology, that revered Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (a.k.a. Ras Tafari). He adhered strictly to the tenets of Rastafari. As per the beliefs of the sect, the body should be kept whole. No part of it should be cut or removed.
Rastafarians believed that one could stay immortal in one's body and amputating it was equal to calling one's death by accepting its existence. Although Bob himself was a devout follower of the sect, his decision caused a lot of turmoil within the Rastafarian community and also between the Rastafarians and the non-Rastas.
The fact is that his early death could have been avoided had the singer agreed to amputating his foot. Bob Marley's role in the evolution of reggae is an invaluable gift to the world of music. When he died, he left a void in the community which can still be felt.
"My music will go on forever. Maybe it's a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever." - Bob Marley.
It's true Bob. Your music lives to this day just as fresh as it did when you first made it!