Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, the grandson of legendary reggae musician Bob Marley, has passed away at 31. Jo Mersa, also a reggae musician, was the son of Stephen Marley.
According to the New York Post, Abka Fitz-Henley, a journalist, tweeted Tuesday that Jo Mersa “was found unresponsive in a vehicle.” WZPP also shared an Instagram post stating that the Jamaican-American artist died after suffering an asthma attack.
Jo Mersa relocated to Florida after spending a part of his childhood in his native Jamaica. He released EPs including Comfortable and Eternal. In an interview with the Jamaica Gleaner last year, the musician spoke about his songwriting process.
“In all honesty, it depends on the vibe because sometimes you will have a tune or idea, like a whole tune is in your head but no beat, and other times, you have a beat and no tune,” he said. “That’s for me, of course. I can’t speak for everyone. Some songs I am able to finish in a night, and some take longer.”
Jo Mersa’s father Stephen is an award-winning musician. In a 2014 interview with Jamaica Observer, Jo Mersa touched on his father’s legacy and how it had impacted his career. “My father has created a legacy by putting out songs with meaning,” he said at the time. “It’s something I have to live up to.”
But in another interview with the Pier, Jo Mersa said that having the Marley surname did not come with any pressure. “There’s things that you have to overcome and things you just have to do and that’s how it is. We have to go through life you know? There’s no pressure for me,” he said. “I give thanks for being a Marley. I’m very appreciative and thankful that I am born where I am born and put where God has decided. I’m very thankful about it and proud.”
He also spoke about his grandfather’s legacy in a 2021 interview with Reggaeville, revealing that it was something his family occasionally reflected on. “We always hear those reflections, speaking about those things, about the role that he played not only as family member and father, but also in the world and the impact he had on the Reggae community and the Reggae culture, the roots, bringing forward the message of Rastafari and love, over all love,” he said.
Jo Mersa’s father Stephen is one of the 11 children Bob Marley left behind after passing away in 1981. And as previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Marley’s estate is managed by four of his children, Rohan Marley, the brand officer of the estate; Cedella; Stephen, and Ziggy, while the rest sit on a board.