Cameroon-born singer and saxophone player Manu Dibango has died from a coronavirus infection, according to a statement on his official Facebook page on Tuesday.
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.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, further to covid 19,” it 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.
He Arrived in Marseille in 1949 as a teenager, made Knight of the Legion of Honor in 2010, the Cameroonian artist was still in great shape and on tour last year for his 60 years of career with his Symphonic Safari mixing jazz and classical music.
On March 18, the artist’s contamination was announced on his Facebook page. “The funeral will be held in strict family intimacy, and tribute will be paid to him as soon as possible “, the family said in its press release.