On this day in 1981, Bob Marley passes away from terminal cancer in Miami, FLA. Born February 6, 1945, in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. Marley and his friends formed the Wailing Wailers 1963; their big break came in 1972 when they landed a contract with Island Records. Marley went on to sell more than 20 million records throughout his career, making him the first international superstar to emerge from the so-called Third World.
Surviving youthful adventure, life on the road and in the air, an assassination attempt and the front stages of cancer, Marley lived multiple lifetimes in his 36 years. Shortly before his death, Marley received the Order of Merit from the Jamaican government; he had also been awarded the Medal of Peace from the United Nations in 1980. Adored by the people of Jamaica, Marley was given a hero’s send-off.
More than 30,000 people paid their respects to the musician during his memorial service, held at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica. Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt sang and the Wailers performed at the joyfully sad celebration of Marley’s life and art.
Primary Wave Publishing founder Larry Mestel, who now owns the Marley catalog, has proclaimed “There isn’t a crevice of the world where Bob Marley isn’t a god.”