May 11, 1981

May11On this day in 1981, Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley died.

In 1977, Marley consulted with a doctor when a wound on his big toe would not heal. More tests revealed malignant melanoma. He refused to have his toe amputated as doctors recommended, claiming it contradicted his Rastafarian religious beliefs. The cancer was kept secret from the general public while Marley continued recording and touring.

Returning to Jamaica in 1978, he continued to work and released Survival in 1979, which was followed by a successful European tour. Marley played two shows at Madison Square Gardens, but collapsed while jogging in NYC’s Central Park on September 21, 1980. The cancer diagnosed earlier had now spread to his brain, lungs and stomach.

Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital on May 11, 1981. He was 36 years old.

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