The Surprising Items Bob Marley Is Buried With

On May 11, 1981, the music industry mourned the loss of one of its greatest artists, Bob Marley. Marley, born Robert Nesta Marley, was a Jamaican singer and songwriter who contributed to the popularization of ska and reggae music in the '70s. He gained worldwide fame together with his band, the Wailers, and released tunes such as "I Shot the Sheriff," "No Woman No Cry," and "Redemption Song," just to name a few, and most of his songs remain popular to this day (via Britannica.)

In 1977, Bob Marley injured his toe. After seeking treatment, he found out that he had cancer cells growing in his toe, according to Biography. His doctors suggested amputation to prevent the cancer cells from spreading, but Marley refused because of his religious beliefs.

Bob Marley was a Rastafari, a religious movement that began in Jamaica in the 1930s. Rastafarianism has mixed beliefs and follows some teachings in the Bible, but they are also rooted in African traditions and centered on spirituality, per Nursing Times. Rastafarians are opposed to a few medical procedures including amputations, blood transfusions, dialysis, and organ transplants.

The death of Bob Marley

By 1980, Bob Marley's cancer had spread to different parts of his body. He went to Germany to undergo unorthodox treatments, which helped him prolong his life for a few months. When he got worse, he wanted to return back to his home in Jamaica, but he never got the chance to go back to his home country as he died in Miami, Florida, at the age of 36, before doing so, according to Biography.

Marley's body was flown from Miami to Jamaica, and a state funeral was held on May 21, 1981, at Nine Mile, the village where Bob Marley was born, per The Guardian. Bob Marley was encased in a bronze coffin and just a day before his burial, family, friends, and fans were able to celebrate his life and mourn his passing at an arena. Approximately 100,000 people lined up to have a final look at Marley, who many regarded as a hero and not just a musician.

Then-Prime Minister Edward Seaga was among those who made a eulogy. He said, "Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation," (via Smooth Radio.)

The five items buried with Bob Marley

According to History Info, there are five items buried with Bob Marley's body, as he requested. The first is his red Gibson Les Paul electric guitar that he often used while performing. The second item is a soccer ball to represent the sport that Marley loved to play. Bob Marley was often photographed playing soccer with friends when he was not making music. In a 1980 interview, as reported by BBC, Bob said, "I love music and then football after." Another item buried with the musician is a Bible opened to the page for Psalm 23, also known as "A Psalm of David."

Bob Marley is also buried with a ring that he never took off his finger. Per Tap Mag Online, it was Prince Asfaw Wossen, the son of Ethiopia's Emperor, who gave Marley the ring that has a black stone with the Lion of Judah and can be seen on the album cover of "Legend: The Best of Bob Marley."

The last item buried with Marley was added by his wife, Rita Marley. At the end of the funeral ceremony, Rita approached her husband's casket and put a stalk of ganja inside, per The Guardian. Marley was a user of ganja or marijuana, but he did not smoke it recreationally. It was his belief in Rastafarianism that propelled him to do so, as Rastafarians consider ganja a religious sacrament (per FHE Health.)