CAMEROONIAN Afro-jazz legend, Manu Dibango has died from the coronavirus at the age of 86, his family announced on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
The composer of one of the biggest hits in world music, ‘Soul Makossa’ (1972), is the first world celebrity to die from the virus. ‘He died in the early hours of the morning in a hospital in the Paris region,’ Thierry Durepaire, manager of the artist’s music publishing business, told AFP.
A statement released by the family reads: ‘It is with deep sadness that we announce to you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, due to COVID-19.’
‘Soul Makossa’, the song that catapulted him to global fame, was originally released as the B-side of a single, the main title of which was an anthem for the Cameroonian football team at the African Cup of Nations.
Spotted by New York DJs, the track has touched thousands of lives. Manu Dibango had even accused Michael Jackson of plagiarism on a track from the album “Thriller”. A financial settlement was reached between them.
‘His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organised when possible,’ Durepaire told AFP.