Veteran Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango died on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 after contracting the new coronavirus, his representatives have confirmed.
Cause of death
The 86-year-old Cameroonian, best known for the 1972 hit “Soul Makossa”, is one of the first worldwide stars to die as a result of COVID-19.
“He died early this morning in a hospital in the Paris region,” his music publisher Thierry Durepaire said.
A message on his official Facebook page confirmed that his death had come after he contracted COVID-19.
“His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organized when possible,” the message said.
The saxophonist was one of the pioneers of Afro jazz and also fused funk with traditional Cameroonian music.
His biggest hit was the B-side of a song to support the Cameroon football team in the African Cup of Nations but was picked up and popularised by New York DJs.
In 2009, he accused Michael Jackson of borrowing one of his hooks for two songs on the legendary “Thriller” album. Jackson settled out of court.
Dear family, dear friends, dear fans, A voice raises from far away… It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, further to COVID-19.
R.I.P Manu Dibango
words cannot express who you are and what you represent to this country and humanity as a whole .
The first of its kind.
Gone but never forgotten
Rest Easy Big G
Love Always pic.twitter.com/Hg9jhtKzLq
— JØVÍ aka VIZŪ (@JoviLeMonstre) March 24, 2020
© Agence France-Presse