Veteran Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango died on Tuesday after contracting the new COVID-19, his representatives have confirmed.
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 organised 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.
With a catalogue of over 40 albums and several film soundtracks to his name, Dibango has enjoyed a music career spanning several continents over five decades, during which he has worked with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrel and the late, great, Grammy Award nominee – and Safaricom Jazz veteran – Hugh Masekela.
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