Reggae singer Jo Mersa to be laid to rest in Jamaica

Jo Mersa Marley.
Jo Mersa Marley.
Photo by Ricardo Stephens

The family of Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, first son of Stephen Marley, arrived in Jamaica on Thursday in preparation for a thanksgiving service for the life of the reggae singer, reports The Jamaica Gleaner.

The publication said a chartered flight carrying more than 50 family members touched down at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, the Jamaican capital, on Thursday.

The Gleaner said the body of the 31-year-old singer and musician, who died on Dec. 27 in Florida, also arrived in the island.

Jo Mersa is the first son of Stephen Marley, the son of reggae icon Bob Marley and Kerry-Ann Smith, who is the younger sister of Dancehall Queen Carlene, The Gleaner said.

It said a well-placed source confirmed that Jo Mersa will be laid to rest in the Parish of St. Ann on Tuesday.

Following his death, The Gleaner said several reggae and dancehall artistes have paid tribute to the young father of one who was steadily making his name in the music business.

“Joseph ‘Jo Mersa’ Marley was a strong, humble, talented, beautiful human being,” said Ghetto Youths International, the label founded by Stephen and his brothers, in a statement on Instagram days after Jo Mersa’s death, saying that Jo Mersa as “a son, husband, father, brother, nephew and cousin and a well-loved Young Lion.

“The Ghetto Youths International Family is deeply saddened by his untimely passing, and appreciate the outpouring of love by fans, friends and colleagues,” it added. “Jo’s memory, spirit and his music will live on as a testament to his great impact in his short 31 years. We love you Jo.”

The young Marley, who was reportedly severely asthmatic, was found unresponsive in a car in Miami-Dade County, The Gleaner said.

It said Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange led the entertainment fraternity in mourning the death of the artiste, whose untimely passing is “a huge loss to the music, as we look to the next generation”.

Grange said she was “deeply saddened by the news”, noting that Jo Mersa was part of Jamaica’s grand 60th celebrations earlier last year.

“We were graced by Joseph, whose stage name was Jo Mersa, performing at our Jamaica 60 Launch in Miramar, Florida, United States in May this year,” she said. “I extend my deepest condolences to Stephen; Jo’s mom, Kerry.

The Gleaner said Jo Mersa recently accompanied GRAMMY-nominated singer, Kabaka Pyramid, on his US tour, “The Kalling.”

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