By 1980 he had reached the pinnacle of his power and influence, mediating a tense political standoff in Jamaica, singing at the independence celebrations in Zimbabwe and becoming to many a semi-religious figure himself. Little more than a year later though, he was dead; overcome by cancer. This coming Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of that sad day.
The nation of Jamaica held a state funeral for him and millions in Africa and around the world mourned his passing. But while his influence lives on, reggae as a musical force never fully recovered or knew just where to go without him.
Here he is in 1980 performing in Germany.