How did Bob Marley die?

The reggae icon passed away in 1981 – here are all the details of his death

In 1976 Bob Marley survived an assassination attempt by three gunmen at his home in Hope Road in Jamaica; just five years later he was taken down by a malignant melanoma originating in his toe. As with many music star deaths, Marley’s passing has been shrouded in mystery, unanswered questions and conspiracy theories, but what actually happened?

Where and when did Bob Marley die?

Marley did at the Cedars Of Lebanon Hospital in Miami on May 11, 1981.

 

What was the cause of Marley’s death?

Marley died from an acral lentiginous melanoma, a form of skin cancer which had been diagnosed in 1977, spreading from under a nail of his toe.

 

 

How had his disease spread?

Bob first discovered the melanoma during a game of football in 1977, when a foot injury seemed unusually bad, and worsened over time. When doctors discovered the cancer, he was advised to have his toe amputated, but refused as his Rastafarian faith considers it a sin to have a part of the body ‘temple’ removed. He did consent to a skin graft but this didn’t stop the disease spreading throughout his body by the summer of 1980.

 

What led up to Bob Marley’s death?

Having collapsed while jogging in Central Park during his final tour, Marley played his last ever gig in Pittsburgh in September 1980 before cancelling all remaining live dates and flying to Germany for a controversial diet-based treatment under Josef Issels. After eight months the treatment proved unsuccessful, and Marley boarded a plane home to Jamaica. On the flight his condition worsened and he was rushed to hospital on arrival in Miami, where he died on May 11, 1981.

 

What was Bob Marley’s age?

Marley died aged 36.

 

Where was Marley’s funeral?

Bob was granted a state funeral in Jamaica on May 21, with the eulogy delivered by the Prime Minister Edward Seaga. He was buried in a chapel near his birthplace with his Gibson Les Paul guitar.

 

 

Are there any conspiracy theories surrounding Bob Marley’s death?

The most prevalent theory is that, due to his growing political stature in Jamaica, Marley was murdered by the CIA. It’s suggested that they were behind the attempted assassination at Hope Road and, having failed to kill him, went about more surreptitious means to see him off. It’s said that Carl Colby, the son of late CIA director William Colby, later gave Marley a pair of boots and, when Bob tried them on, a radioactive copper wire inside pricked his toe, causing the cancer. There are also stories that Issels was an ex-SS officer working with the CIA to poison Marley.