(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – DANCEHALL deejay Merciless was found dead in a guest house on Walker’s Avenue, off Beechwood Avenue, in Kingston on Tuesday evening. He had checked in alone.
According to eyewitnesses, the 51-year-old artiste was last seen around midnight Tuesday. Merciless, who was from Clarendon, was doing gigs at several Corporate Area studios.
Kevin Thomas, his close friend and driver, said he knew something was wrong when the deejay failed to return his calls.
“Di deejay ah mi friend. Him ah everything to mi. Mi weak. 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. Mi deh ah work dis morning an’ mi call di man an’ mi nuh see him call mi back… So mi lef work four o’clock an’ when mi come yah suh mi si him car yah so. So di man dem seh ah from morning wi si di deejay car yah so, an’ wi nuh see him come out. Mi weak now… 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,” a distraught Thomas told the Jamaica Observer.
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, said she was saddened to learn of Merciless’s death.
“It is really sad to lose another member of our music fraternity. Merciless was a popular artiste in the dancehall and had a number of hits to his credit. I extend sincere condolences to his family, relatives, friends, and associates and to the music fraternity,” said Grange in a release sent to the Observer.
According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s information arm, the Corporate Communications Unit, the police was called to a motel, off Beechwood Avenue, where the artiste was found dead. No foul play is suspected and it is being treated as a sudden death investigation.
Merciless, whose given name was Leonard Bartley, hails from Chapleton in Clarendon. He made his recording debut in 1994 with Lend Out Mi Mercy. In addition to Gal Dem Gizzada and Mama Cooking he also garnered new fans with Mavis and Mr Whodini.
He was renowned for several clashes. The most famous was against Ninjaman, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man in a lyrical face-off at Sting 2000 at Jamworld Entertainment Complex in St Catherine.