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Bob Marley's Son Ziggy Pens Sweet Letter to the Reggae Star on What Would Have Been His 79th Birthday (Exclusive)

Bob Marley died in 1981 at age 36

<p>Paramount Pictures</p> Ziggy Marley 2023

Paramount Pictures

Ziggy Marley 2023

It's been nearly 43 years since the world lost reggae pioneer Bob Marley, and on Tuesday, he would have celebrated his 79th birthday.

Though Marley died young, he left behind a lasting legacy that includes not only his prolific music catalog, but a family dedicated to preserving his memory and carrying on his message of love and unity.

Marley's eldest son Ziggy, 55, is a musician like his father, and an eight-time Grammy winner to boot. Ziggy and his mother, Rita, and sister Cedella are all producers on the new film Bob Marley: One Love, a biopic starring British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir as the late star. "There’s a lot of sides [to him] that people don’t really know," Ziggy says of his father. "They will see those sides [in One Love] and they will connect with those sides.”

In an essay for PEOPLE published in this week's issue, Ziggy remembers his dad as a playful presence whose spirituality and discipline inspires his family to this day.

Related: Ziggy Marley Reveals What His Father Would Have Thought of New Film Bob Marley: One Love (Exclusive)

<p>Allan Tannenbaum/Getty</p> Bob Marley

Allan Tannenbaum/Getty

Bob Marley

What’s happening? Long time no see.

I miss everything [about you], but mainly your presence. I listen to you. Your songs are always playing—when I go to my mother [Rita’s] house, music is on. Bob is on. Music is always around.

You were so young, but you did more than me could ever do. And the movie is another way for you to give even more. Kingsley brings out a strong emotional side of you that people don’t normally see. There’s moments where we’re like, “Yeah, that’s just like Daddy.” You would laugh, but one of those proud laughs.

I admired your discipline. I got that from you and the seriousness that you took with the music, the art. It was really inspiring.

Related: Bob Marley's Son Ziggy Shares the Last Thing the Singer Ever Told Him and Why He Vows to Live by It (Exclusive)

We’re spiritual people— everything we do is a part of the whole. It’s like we’re a part of you, and you’re a part of us. It’s one. We speak with our love, and it’s not words. We don’t have to talk much—we can just feel.

My smile is honoring you. I laugh, and it looks like your laugh. Pieces of you are a part of me. You would’ve loved being a grandpa [Ziggy is a dad to seven children]. I see a little bit of something of you [in them] every now and again. It’s lovely to see. It’s joyful. The grandkids get a piece of you through us. Everything we do is connected to you.

For more on Ziggy Marley, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, available on newsstands everywhere now or subscribe here.

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Read the original article on People.