- Following Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley’s passing on Tuesday, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness penned a heartfelt tribute in his honor which read “May he find Eternal Peace as we mourn his loss during this season of goodwill”
Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley passes away at 31. He was the beloved grandson of music icon Bob Marley and son to Grammy Award-winning artist Stephen Marley.
On Tuesday, Rolling Stone received confirmation of his death from his representative.
Journalist Abka Fitz-Henley broke the news of Jo Mersa’s passing on Twitter, and WZPP Radio later revealed that he was “found in his vehicle”. The musician’s cause of death remains unknown.
Jo Mersa’s representatives did not immediately reply to PEOPLE’s inquiry for a statement.
From his Jamaican birthplace in 1991, Jo Mersa experienced the music industry firsthand when he moved to Miami at age 11. Once there, Rolling Stone reports that he attended Palmetto High School and later enrolled in Miami Dade College for Studio Engineering. He was most notably influenced by watching his father Stephen, one of Bob Marley’s eleven children who pursued similar musical paths, grow up as an artist throughout their lives together.
After picking up songwriting in middle school, Jo Mersa released his debut track “My Girl” — a collaboration with cousin Daniel Bambaata Marley — in 2010. Four years later, he dropped Comfortable, his first EP. Then came Eternal: Jo’s second and latest project which was unleashed to the world last year.
As Jo Mersa promoted his tracks, he opened up about the legacy of his grandfather who had passed away in 1981 at a young age of 36. To Reggaeville.com, he shared how much his family missed him and cherished the memories they built with him.
He said, “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, overall love.”
On Tuesday, Jamaican politician Mark J. Golding took to Twitter in an emotional outpouring of grief over the passing away of Jo Mersa. He wrote, “I’ve just learned of the tragic loss of Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley. A talented young reggae artiste, son of Stephen Marley & grandson of Bob Marley at only 31 yrs old. The loss of a child is a devastating blow no parent should face, my condolences to Stephen & the entire family.”
Reggae star Shaggy, of Jamaican-American descent, commemorated Jo Mersa with a photograph on his Instagram.