It seems that all those who preach friendship, reconciliation, and world peace end up dying before their time. For whatever reason, sometimes good people leave us earlier that we would otherwise expect, and this is exactly what happened to raggae’s most iconic characters.
When legendary raggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist, Bob Marley was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 1977, it came as a shock to millions of fans throughout the world. Despite his condition, Bob Marley continued working, producing record-selling album ‘Kaya’, an album which topped the charts in Britain for 56 weeks in a row.
At the time, Bob Marley’s health problems raised many rumors, some suggesting that the legendary artist had sustained an injury during a football match the same year, this being the origin of his medical affliction.
Contrary to many rumors such as this, the rare type of skin cancer was actually a development of an already existing cancer in his toe. It was, however, because of the football injury that he went to see a doctor in the first place, a consultation that prompted further inquiries from the doctors.
Strangely enough, Bob Marley rejected the doctors’ advice to amputate the infected toe, citing religious reasons for his decision. Instead, he opted for a nail and nail bed removal, followed by a skin graft from his thigh to cover the operated area. It was this unfortunate decision that ultimately led to Bob’s demise, along with his peculiar lifestyle and selective dietary habits.
On May 11, 1981, Bob Marley passed away at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami surrounded by his family and friends. He had just returned from Germany where he followed a three months experimental ‘holistic’ treatment, a treatment that did very little to slow down the spread of his cancer.
Originating in his toe, the metastasized cancerous melanoma had spread to his brain, spawning a brain tumor that ultimately led to his demise.
Throughout the years, Bob Marley has been called a superstar, a visionary, an inspiration for downtrodden people everywhere, and above all, a revolutionary artist. There aren’t really words to describe his impact on the world, especially the impact he had on his home country of Jamaica, where his legacy is cherished as a national treasure to this day.
Referred to as Jamaica’s first international superstar, the legendary Bob Marley is credited with introducing raggae and rasta to the world, along with a strong message of peace and reconciliation.
In the end, Bob Marley the man was beaten by a rare and ruthless form of skin cancer, but Bob Marley the artist left behind a legacy that will live on throughout the ages.
It goes to show that no matter how rich or powerful a man can be, no person can escape their fate during their darkest hour.
Interestingly enough, Bob Marley’s dying words to his son Ziggy were ‘Money can’t buy life’, and rightfully so.