(AllHipHop News) Afro-jazz legend Manu Dibango has died after contracting the coronavirus, Covid-19.
The 86-year-old Cameroonian saxophonist, best known for the 1972 hit “Soul Makossa,” passed away on Tuesday, his publisher Thierry Durepaire told Agence Presse France.
“He died early this morning in a hospital in the Paris region,” Durepaire said.
— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) March 24, 2020
A message on the star’s official Facebook page confirmed that his death had come after he contracted coronavirus.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on March 24th 2020, at 86-years-old, further to covid 19,” the statement reads. “His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organized when possible.”
The musician pioneered Afro-jazz, fusing funk with traditional Cameroonian music.
“Soul Makossa” was popularized after DJ David Mancuso found a copy in a Brooklyn West Indian record store and played it at his The Loft parties – with the song then being licensed by Atlantic Records and reaching 35 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Dibango was also a member of the seminal Congolese rumba group, African Jazz, and has collaborated with the likes of Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Sunny Ade, and Don Cherry.
In 2009, he sued Michael Jackson and Rihanna, accusing them of borrowing the song’s “Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa” vocal hook for his 1982 track “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” and her 2007 hit “Don’t Stop the Music.”
Agence France-Presse reported that Jackson had previously admitted to borrowing the line and settled out of court and that when Rihanna asked him for permission to sample it, he allegedly approved the request without contacting Dibango beforehand.
The Afro-jazz star’s claim was reportedly ruled inadmissible.