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Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango succumbs to coronavirus

Isaiah Katumwa performing with Manu at Serena on April 30, 2018 on international jazz day

Celebrated jazz phenomenon Manu Dibango has died after contracting the new coronavirus, his representatives have confirmed.

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.

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.

The saxophonist who graced Isaiah Katumwa’s jazz concert in April 2018 at Kampala Serena hotel 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 “Thriller” album.

The world will surely miss him. Rest in Peace Legend.

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