Bob Marley's death in 1981 was caused by cancer. The illness was initially diagnosed as melanoma, or skin cancer, which subsequently spread to his lungs and brain.
Robert Nesta Marley, known to fans as Bob Marley, went to see a doctor in 1977 after sustaining a toe injury during a soccer match. He had become concerned about the injury when it did not seem to be healing well. The slow-healing nature of the injury turned out to be the result of malignant melanoma, or a harmful form of skin cancer. While it was recommended that he amputate the toe, Marley refused due to his religious beliefs. Marley continued to record and perform until 1980, when his health had declined to the point that he was no longer able to work.
Bob Marley sought holistic treatment for his cancer in Germany for several months prior to his death. Realizing that the treatment was not working, Marley sought to return to his native Jamaica; however, he became very ill during the flight, which was forced to land in Miami as a result. Marley succumbed to his disease on May 11, 1981. His body was flown to Jamaica for a state funeral and burial.