MEMBERS of Jamaica's entertainment fraternity turned out in their numbers to pay their final respects to dancehall artiste Merciless at the St Gabriel's Anglican Church Hall on Church Street, Clarendon, on Saturday.
Mr Lexx, Little Hero, Alozade, Don Mafia, and Spragga Benz were among the scores of mourners present.
In his tribute to his late colleague, Spragga Benz performed an acapella version of his song Sleep with Angels. He said Merciless proved himself to be a true friend.
"Merciless is not just a friend, but a very good friend. Merciless would not have missed my funeral and so I had to show my surpport. When his wife died I was round to show my support, and when my son Carlyle died he was there for me," he told the Jamaica Observer.
"If I had any type of situation and needed help, and there were five people I could count on, Merciless would be among the five persons," he continued.
Spragga Benz said he met Merciless some 28 years ago at Arrows Recording Studio on Windward Road in Kingston.
"He [Merciless] was there to voice a dubplate and throughout these years there has not been a dull moment, especially as entertainers travelling abroad doing shows. I can remember when Merciless gave us a scare. He was supposed to perform at this show in Hollywood and when we were looking for him, no Merciless. We called his hotel room phone, no answer. After several attempts failed to get to him, we made a decision to kick off the door to his room but someone suggested getting a spare key. On entering Merciless was well cloaked up under the sheet sleeping. Then, to add humour, he began blaming us for not calling him," said Spragga Benz.
Merciless, born Leonard Bartley, was found dead in a guest house on Walker's Avenue, off Beechwood Avenue, in Kingston on July 19. A post-mortem was inconclusive.
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.
Merciless leaves behind his mother Etle Bartley; brothers Leroy and Larry; sisters Jacqueline and Claire; his four sons Isaiah, Leonard, Judah, and Jacob; three grandchildren and other relatives.
Merciless was interred in a family plot in Clarendon.