Renowned Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango has died after contracting the new coronavirus, his representatives and official Facebook page have announced.
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, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
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“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.
Funerals in France have been limited to 20 people who are in the closest circle of the deceased because of a lockdown to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
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 album, Thriller. Jackson settled out of court.