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

Ziggy Marley opens up about his late father to PEOPLE in this week's issue, ahead of the release of 'Bob Marley: One Love'

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

Paramount Pictures

Ziggy Marley 2023

Ziggy Marley was just 12 years old when his father, the legendary reggae musician Bob Marley, died of cancer in 1981.

But the last words that Bob ever said to his eldest son stick with him all these years later — and have served as a guiding light as Ziggy has grown into a successful musician and father of his own.

“[He said] ‘On your way up, take me up. On your way down, don’t let me down,’” Ziggy recalls in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “A father-son relationship is very deep, and it’s a spiritual thing also. We share a certain spiritual foundation—my father, myself, my brothers and my sisters. So that word means exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m doing. It just mean that I don’t have to think about it, really, because I was doing it anyway.”

Ziggy, 55, emphasizes that he and his family are very spiritual people, who know that while Bob is no longer present, he is still aware of all that they’re doing (The star also debunks a longstanding internet rumor that Bob’s last words were “Money can’t buy life”; “That’s not true,” he says).

<p>Pete Still/Redferns</p> Bob Marley performs at Crystal Palace Bowl in London in 1980.

Pete Still/Redferns

Bob Marley performs at Crystal Palace Bowl in London in 1980.

Related: Father of Seven Ziggy Marley Reveals His No. 1 Rule When Playing Uno with His Kids

“Everything we do is a part of the whole. It’s like we’re a part of him, and he’s a part of us. It’s one,” says Ziggy. “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 him. I laugh and it looks like his laugh. Pieces of him are a part of me.”

On Feb. 14, Bob’s life story will get the biopic treatment in Bob Marley: One Love, a film starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the “Jamming” singer.

Ziggy says that he and his family, which includes his mother Rita, sisters Sharon and Cedella and brothers Stephen, Rohan, Julian, Ky-Mani, Damian and Robert, were the ones to approach a studio about making the movie, and were “very involved” in all aspects of its creation. He praises Ben-Adir’s performance, saying the star brings out a “strong emotional side of Bob that people don’t normally see.”

“I think that is the strength of the movie, the emotional connection we will feel toward the character. Kingsley did really good,” says Ziggy. “There’s moments in there where we’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s just like Daddy.’”

If Bob could see the film, “he would laugh,” says Ziggy, who has seven children, including four with wife Orly.

<p>Paramount Pictures</p> Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley in 'Bob Marley: One Love.'

Paramount Pictures

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley in 'Bob Marley: One Love.'

Related: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Make Surprise Red Carpet Outing in Jamaica at Bob Marley Movie Premiere

“He would laugh, but one of those proud laughs,” he says. “He always wanted to make a movie. He was a creative person. He wanted to make a Western. There’s a lot of sides [to him] that people don’t really know. They will see those sides [in One Love] and they will connect with those sides.”

For Ziggy, his fondest memories of his father were the times spent playing around, whether it was football or boxing or just joking.

“Daddy was fun,” says Ziggy. “Him do more than me could ever do. You know what I’m saying. He did so much, it’s going to be lasting forever… I miss everything, but mainly the presence. Even when I don’t miss him, I listen to him. His songs are always playing. When I go to my mother’s house, music is on. Bob is on. Music is always around.”

Ziggy is now an accomplished musician himself, with eight Grammy Awards under his belt. But it’s not those moments earning accolades that make him think of his father.

“Sometimes I play some places where my father might have played, too, Santa Barbara Bowl or something like that. And you have a little deja vu type of vibe and you imagine something like, ‘Oh yeah, this is where my father played,’” he says. “In those times, sometimes you think of him or what it was like for him to be here, to have the experience that I’m having now. I wonder if the feel is the same, or the same vibe or the same energy.”

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

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Read the original article on People.