Cedella Marley Booker, mother of late reggae icon Bob Marley, died Tuesday April 8 after a long heart-related illness. She was 81.
Booker was surrounded by her family in her South Florida home at the time of her passing. Her grandson, Ky-Mani Marley, an accomplished musician himself, told The Miami Herald, “She was always there to help me - even when I didn't ask for help, she knew I needed help. She had that instinct to know when things were wrong and had the courage to fix it.'
Although Booker was best-known for her famous son-she also frequently performed with Bob Marley's sons Ky-Mani, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian and Julian—she was also an author and musician in her own right. Her two books about Bob Marley - 1997's Bob Marley: An Intimate Portrait by His Mother and Bob Marley, My Son in 2003 - offered glimpses into his personal life, shedding light on his relationships with his wife Rita and bandmates Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. She released two albums, Awake Zion in 1991, and in the following year a collection of Caribbean folk songs for children called Smilin' Island of Song.
Services will be held between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday at the Range Funeral Home, 3384 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove. Booker is survived by two children, Claudette Livingston and Richard Booker, and 52 grandchildren.