One could only imagine the emotions that swept over Jamaica as citizens were hit with the news of reggae legend Robert ‘Bob’ Marley dying 39 years ago on Sunday, May 11, 1981. He was 36 years old.
Marley, flying home from Germany to Jamaica that day, was forced to seek medical attention in Miami after landing when his vital functions took a turn for the worst.
Marley, after an Uprising Tour that nearly knocked the wind of him, felt it was time to go back to his island home. He was also due to receive the Order of Merit, Jamaica’s fourth-highest award.
The One Love musician, lost an uphill battle against acral lentiginous melanoma (a form of skin cancer), which, after a three-year diagnosis and outright refusal to operate, had spread to his lungs and brain.
His last spoken words, as he faded from the realm of the living in a hospital bed at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital (now University of Miami Hospital), according to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life”.
By the time of his death, the Jamaican superstar had already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest songwriters and most successful entertainers of all time.
The man and his legend still lives on.