Afro-jazz legend and saxophone player Manu Dibango has died after contracting the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to his music publisher Thierry Durepaire, the musician died earlier today in a hospital in Paris after he tested positive for the new COVID-19.
“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed on, on March 24, 2020, at 86 years old, further to COVID-19,” he wrote.
The Cameroonian, who became a darling to many after his hit song ‘Soul Makosa,’ is one of the first international stars to die as a result of coronavirus.
The sad news was broken on his Facebook page, which confirmed that the star succumbed to the virus.
His death comes a week after the musician’s representatives disclosed on his Facebook page that he had tested positive for the virus and admitted in a French hospital.
“Manu Dibango is having some rest to recover in serenity; he requests you to respect his privacy and is looking forward to meeting you soon, and he is asking you to take good care of yourselves in this distressing period we are going through,” Read the Facebook update.
Following the ongoing lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease, funerals in France have been limited to only 20 people who are close to the deceased.
“His funeral service will be held in strict privacy. A tribute to his memory will also be organized when possible,” read part of the message.
The 86-year old Cameroonian will be remembered as one of the pioneers of Afro-jazz and a lover of traditional Cameroonian music.
The Cameroon jazz-funk star, who influenced Michael Jackson, started his music journey right from high school, where he learned piano and saxophone.
Dibango’s biggest hit song was the ‘B- sides,’ a song to support the Cameroon football in the African Cup of nations. The song was then picked up and popularized by New York DJs.
In 2009, the Cameroonian musician alleged that pop star late Michael Jackson borrowed one of his hooks for two of the songs on the legendary “Thriller” album, a matter that was later settled in court.