There is still no confirmation about what caused the death of dancehall legend Merciless. His body was found at a guest house on Walker’s Avenue, off Beechwood Avenue, in Kingston yesterday, July 19.
So far, the only information that has been confirmed is that he checked in alone and that he was in the area doing gigs at the Corporate Area studios. Other eyewitness accounts state that he was last seen around midnight on July 18. His death has rocked the dancehall world as, for many, it was unexpected.
One of his close friends spoke with the Observer about the final moments he spent with the “Ole Gallis” deejay and shed some light on the deejay’s generous nature. The friend identified as Kevin Thomas was also Merciless driver.
“Ah Sunday night ah di last mi see him. Di man give mi $1,500 an’ seh, ‘Kevin, si yuh lunch money yah… Come link mi likkle more.’ Him seh when him finish do some work ah di studio [on Monday] him ah go come link mi,” he shared.
Thomas, obviously upset, also explained that he tried to call Merciless, whose real name is Leonard Bartley, on the morning of his death to ask him where he needed to get to for the day. He added that when his calls were not returned, he left his job at 4 pm to go look for him. He saw his car parked and was informed that it had not been moved since yesterday morning.
“Suh mi call Carlos an’ seh, ‘Yuh si di deejay?’ an’ him seh, ‘Yuh know ah two day mi nuh hear di man… Mi call di security an’ wi shub off di door an’ si the man pon di ground pon him face. Ah we see di man dead,” he revealed.
Jamaica’s minister of culture, gender, entertainment, and sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, also expressed her sadness and shock at the passing of one of the stand-out voices of 90s dancehall. She described him as a popular artiste in dancehall and also said that he had a number of hits to his credit.
Minister Grange also extended her sincere condolences to his family, relatives, friends, and associates and to the music fraternity as well. The Observer also spoke with the information arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Corporate Communications Unit, which stated that they were informed that the police were called to a motel off Beechwood Avenue, where they found Merciless dead.
At this time, no foul play is suspected, and it is being treated as a sudden death investigation. The artist will no doubt leave an indelible mark on the dancehall fraternity, having made his debut back in 1994 when he captured the hearts of many with his witty lyrics and powerfully booming voice.
Probably the moments that he would be most remembered for will be his famous sound clashes, which in their heyday had fans flocking to arenas to see how new and upcoming artists would stand up to the veterans.
The “Len’ out Mi Mercy” deejay also gained notoriety for holding his own against the top clash artists, including Ninjaman, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man at Sting 2000 at Jamworld Entertainment Complex in St Catherine.
Several of his fans flooded his last post on Instagram with comments of shock and also to offer condolences.
Bounty Killer also took the time out on Instagram to wish farewell to a legend of dancehall.
Beenie Man also shared a tribute for the late deejay.