Jo Mersa Marley, Bob Marley’s grandson, cause of death revealed

Details surrounding the cause of Jo Mersa Marley’s death have been revealed.

Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley — son of musician Stephen Marley and the grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley — died at 31 on Dec. 26 after being found unresponsive in a vehicle.

In documents obtained by Rolling Stone from the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office Tuesday, Marley reportedly died of “acute asthma exacerbation” after being infected by a rhinovirus or enterovirus.

Marley had a history of asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, and was not taking his asthma medication at the time of his death, according to the magazine.

The report also noted that he had a history of smoking, and had “enlarged glottic tonsils” as well as black discoloration in his lungs.

At the time of his death, South Florida Caribbean radio station WZPP reported the musician suffered an asthma attack in a post on Instagram.

A toxicology report found THC — the chemical in marijuana — as well as naloxone and 0.08% of ethanol in Marley’s system at the time of his death, per Rolling Stone.

Jo Mersa Marley performs onstage during the Caribbean Village Festival at Miramar Regional Park Amphitheater on June 23, 2019, in Miramar, Florida.
Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley died Dec. 26, 2022. He was 31.
Getty Images

“An acute asthma exacerbation due to viral illness is a common occurrence and considered a non-allergic event,” the medical examiner’s report stated. “Additionally, chronic smoking of combustible products such as tobacco or marijuana is dangerous in a person with asthma.”

Marley had spoken to his mother the day before his death, on Christmas Day, and “informed her he was feeling ill, ostensibly due to his asthma,” according to Rolling Stone.

There was no evidence of injury, but his lung showed signs of congestion, hyperexpansion and increased mucus in its airwave.

Marley spent his early life in Jamaica before moving to Miami — and followed his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps into music. He was known for tracks such as “Burn It Down,” “Made It” and “Rock and Swing.”

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 10: Jo Mersa Marley attends the 2014 Caribbean American Movers and Shakers at Frost Art Museum on October 10, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images)
According to the medical examiner’s report, he died from “acute asthma exacerbation.”
Getty Images

In a 2014 story for the Jamaica Observer, Marley talked about the pressure of his famous surname and admitted it was challenging.

“My father has created a legacy by putting out songs with meaning,” he said. “It’s something I have to live up to.”

But in another interview with entertainment site the Pier in the same year, he had a different take on his famous family.

“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.”