Marvin Isley Biography

Marvin Isley BiographyClaim to Fame: Singer (The Isley Brothers)
DOB: August 18, 1953
Date of Death: June 6, 2010
Diabetes Type: 2

The youngest of six boys, Marvin grew up knowing the power that comes from a strong family and the positive elements born out of healthy competition between siblings. Despite tremendous talent as a bass guitarist, Marvin was too young to participate in the original Isley Brothers group and joined in the early 70’s after proving himself to his older brothers via a trio made up of Marvin, his brother Ernie, and brother-in-law Chris Jasper. With Marvin providing bass, Chris on keyboard, and Ernie playing lead guitar, the older brothers had to give credit where it was due and welcomed them into the larger group.

In 1973, the group released their first album 3 + 3, which marked the first time the younger brothers were included in an album recording as official members of the family band.  The album was a great success, with sales high enough to garner platinum certification, and  included songs that the band is remembered for, such as “ That Lady, Pt. 1 & 2” and “Summer Breeze.” Marvin, Ernie, and Chris remained part of the band’s line up contributing to a number of hits until 1984, when the trio separated from the Isley Brothers to form Isley-Jasper-Isley due to creative differences.

Despite the change in musical power from the large ensemble to the intimate threesome, the new group had an impressive musical presence that resulted in three albums, including “Caravan of Love” in 1985 that won them the number one slot on Billboard’s R&B chart. However, Isley-Jasper-Isley would only last until 1988, at which point the trio separated to pursue solo careers.

In 1991, Marvin’s return to the Isley Brothers was official and, along with Ernie, he resumed his role as bass guitarist . In 1992, the Isley Brothers and Isley-Jasper_Isley  were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The band continued to produce singles throughout the 90’s, working with notable performers like Little Richard, Burt Bacharach, R. Kelly, Puff Daddy, and Lil’ Kim. However, in 1997, Marvin, who suffered from type 2 diabetes, was forced to leave the band. Complications due to his disease worsened and, ultimately, resulted in the amputation of both legs.

Following the loss of his legs, Marvin did very little in regards to music and continued to struggle with his illness, neglecting to take proper care of his diabetes. The musician was admitted to hospice care and, on June 6, 2010, died due to diabetes complications. At 56 years old, Marvin is survived by his wife, son and two daughters.

Find more famous musicians with diabetes.

Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

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by Brenda Bell
There are two reasons it took me as long as it did to "come out" publicly with diabetes (and hypertension). One was denial: in my mind, I was too young to have type 2 diabetes — a condition I only knew in people over the age of 55 — and the other was fear of public shaming. Turn back the clock several years before my own diagnosis. Our workplace was a bit more stratified, with two editors above me. The elder of the two was somewhat overweight and, like many...
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