Bob Marley, of Bob Marley and the Wailers, brought the throbbing rhythm of reggae music to the world, but refused to undergo medical treatment that could have saved his life. For various reasons, the Jamaican musician with dreadlocks did not take his diagnosis of cancer seriously, and eventually this cancer was taken. What kind of cancer did Marley have and why did he let it go so far? Here’s what we know:
Bob Marley’s diagnosis of melanoma
Although the official cause of Bob Marley’s death was brain cancer, the devastating disease began in the big toe of his right foot. An avid football player, Marley occasionally suffered foot injuries that almost always healed on their own. That all changed in 1977 when he was touring in France with his band, the Wailers. While playing with his teammates, Marley kicked a ball so hard that his toenail came off.
Before an examination by a hotel doctor in Paris, Marley told her manager, Chris Blackwell, that her big right toe had been infected “suddenly” for years. The doctor removed the nail, bandaged it, and sent it to Marley without a biopsy.
Playing football between London shows, Marley injured his toe again. Blackwell took him to see another doctor who was alarmed by the condition of the reggae singer’s toe and requested an immediate biopsy. It turned out that the injury that did not heal was a form of malignant melanoma or skin cancer, Repeating Islands explains. Marley was advised to have her toe amputated before the aggressive cancer spread further. He refused surgery.
Why did Marley turn down cancer treatment?
After finishing Bob Marley’s tour, he went to Miami, where he received a second opinion confirming the diagnosis of malignant melanoma. This time, a doctor advised Marley toe and toe amputation. Again, Marley rejected amputation on religious grounds. Marley attributed his reluctance to undergo surgery to his Rastafarian faith, which he considered the deliberate cutting of the flesh to be an abomination, according to Bob Marley 1 Love. After a considerable amount of convincing, Marley underwent a surgical excision to remove the cancerous tissue. The operation and the grafting of the skin and posterior tissue was performed by the renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William Baker, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami.
Despite objections from his wife, Rita Marley, the Wailers toured the United States in 1980. After falling ill, Marley canceled a concert at Madison Square Garden on September 20 and returned to her room. hotel. The next day, Marley fainted while jogging in Central Park and was rushed to Manhattan’s Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where doctors determined the 35-year-old musician had suffered a stroke. After further examination, it was revealed that the cancer in Marley’s toe had spread to her lungs, liver and brain. He underwent a brief period of radiation therapy, but went to Jamaica before completing treatment.
In Jamaica, Marley took over from Dr. Carl Fraser, who in turn referred the sick musician to a Bavarian doctor named Dr. Josef Issels. According to Marley’s mother, Cedella Booker-Marley, Issels was a former Nazi practitioner with a deep hatred of blacks. Issels shaved Marley’s famous dreadlocks and treated the desperately ill singer with rudeness and contempt, reports Bob Marley 1 Love.
Five months later, Marley’s partners came to the same conclusion as his mother and took him home from Germany to Jamaica to live his last days. Unfortunately, Marley fell ill during the flight home and was transferred to Cedars of Lebanon in Miami, where she died on May 11, 1981, WECT News reports.
Acral lentiginous melanoma that caused Marley’s death at age 36 is an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer that can be treated in its early stages, explains Neiman Dermatology.
The legacy of Bob Marley
Four decades after his death, Bob Marley’s positive musical message continues to influence generation after generation of listeners inspired by his stance against discrimination and oppression.
“The beginnings are usually scary and the endings are often sad, but everything in between makes it worth living.”
–Robert Nesta Marley 1945-1981
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