Cameroonian Jazz legend and Saxophonist, Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango died on Tuesday after contracting the new coronavirus.
“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.
“Dear family, dear friends, dear fans,
A voice raises from far away…
It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, further to 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.
“Cameroon is deeply saddened by this sudden death of a genius, respected for his musical performances, the sound of which continues to unite all hearts in Africa and the world,” said Bidoung Mkpatt, Cameroon’s minister of arts and culture as quoted in Quartz Africa.
Dibango was born in 1933 in Douala, Cameroon. He moved to France in 1949 where he discovered jazz music.
His 1972 hit, Soul Makossa, which peaked at no. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 was famously sampled by Michael Jackson on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.'”
Angelique Kidjo in a tribute said “You re the original Giant of African Music and a beautiful human being. “
Dear #ManuDibango, you’ve always been there for me from my beginnings in Paris to this rehearsal just 2 months ago! You re the original Giant of African Music and a beautiful human being. This coda of #SoulMakossa is for you! pic.twitter.com/3pGoICwjCn
— Angelique Kidjo (@angeliquekidjo) March 24, 2020
Emmanuel N'Djoké Dibango aka Manu Dibango played his saxophone for the last time last night as a result of the deadly Covid-19. RIP Manu. Go dance with God’s Angels alongside your compatriots Franco Luambo Luanzo Makiadi, Simaru Lutumba, Madilu System et’al. pic.twitter.com/66diZVFtAv
— Philip Etale (@EtalePhilip) March 24, 2020
Carlos Lopes, Professor, University of Cape Town said, “He inspired many with his music, he dignified more with his attitude. As we pause to reflect on the Coronavirus devastating effects let us remember Manu Dibango’s lively Africa, not the one that the virus could bring.”
Manu #Dibango, the “Makossa Man”, “The Lion of Cameroon”, one of the greatest musicians of a generation, with a sterling career spanning 66 years. Born 12 Dec. 1933 – died 24 March 2020, succumbed to #Coronavirus. Had an incredible 29 albums to his name. RIP Manu. pic.twitter.com/ouFyzWAd3c
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) March 24, 2020
— Suzanna OWIYO – OGW (@SuzannaOwiyo) March 24, 2020
March 20, the coronavirus took away Congolese music star Aurlus Mabele who died aged 67. He developed complications arising from a stroke and coronavirus infection
Mabele’s death was announced by his daughter Liza Monet on her social media account.
“My dad died of coronavirus this morning [Thursday night] … Thank you for honoring his memory. He is a great legend of the Soukouss that the Congolese people are losing today. I am inconsolable and collapsed. My dad whom I love so much … Aurlus Mabele,” Liza posted on her Twitter account.
Mon papa est mort ce matin du coronavirus … Merci d’honoré sa mémoire . C’est une grande légende du Soukouss que le peuple congolais perd aujourd’hui . Je suis inconsolable et effondrée . Mon papa que j’aime tant … Aurlus Mabele …
— LIZA MONET ( Alexandra Marie) (@LizaMOfficiel) March 19, 2020