On May 11, 1981, Reggae star Bob Marley died at the age of 36, leaving a musical legacy that remains popular still today. Get your reggae on with these 5 facts you probably didn’t know about Bob Marley...
His First Name Was Nesta The famous Reggae singer was named Nesta Robert Marley by his mother when he was born in 1945 in Jamaica. Apparently people thought Nesta sounded more like a girl’s name, so he used his middle name. As a teen, Marley grew up in Trench Town in Kingston, where his nickname was “Tuff Gong.”
Marley Died From Cancer That Started in His Toe Marley died at age 36 from a rare form of cancer called acral melanoma that began under his toenail. Acral melanoma forms on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or under a nail and is not caused by sun exposure. Although he was advised to have the toe removed, he refused, and the cancer spread quickly, reaching his lungs, brain and other parts of his body. Marley was Rastafarian and cited his religious beliefs as the reason he refused the amputation, and by the time he sought medical treatment, it was too late.
A Jamaican Soup Kitchen Receives All the Royalties From One of Marley’s Songs Marley attributed the song “No Woman No Cry” to an old friend Vincent Ford, even though Ford was neither a musician nor a songwriter. In Trenchtown, where Marley lived, Ford operated a soup kitchen for the needy, and the royalties from the song were meant to fund the soup kitchen and keep it going. Rolling Stone listed “No Woman No Cry” as number 37 on their 'Top 500 Songs of All Time' list.
The "Is This Love" Video Features a Very Young Naomi Campbell. The video was shot at the Keskidee Community Centre, a black arts center in London in 1978. It shows him singing and playing with kids recruited from various stage schools, including a young Naomi Campbell, the future supermodel. "I was just seven, and didn't know what it would involve. I didn't realize Bob Marley would be standing right next to me, tucking me under a blanket. He was the most handsome man, with beautiful bone structure; mellow, too, and soft-spoken, with a strong Jamaican accent," she said.
An Attempt Was Made on Marley’s Life Marley had been warned to not perform in Jamaica because of the political corruption of the times. Marley’s wife was wounded outside of their home as she was leaving in her car, then at least three persons entered Marley’s house and sprayed it with gunfire. Marley and his manager were wounded, but it didn’t deter Marley from performing several days later.