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Music Legend Afro-Jazz Star Manu Dibango Is No More, Succumbs To Coronavirus Infection In Hospital

Rest in peace, Papy Groove

Till now, we have only been getting news of celebrities like Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba, contracting coronavirus and going into self-quarantine. But now, veteran Afro-jazz musical star, Manu Dibango has succumbed to his rapidly worsening symptoms of coronavirus, passing away at the age of 86 in a hospital in Paris today.

The Cameroonian legend, best known for his hit “Soul Makossa” which came out in 1972 and for being the pioneer of Afro-jazz and funky traditional Cameroonian music, is now one of the first celebs who have died after contracting COVID-19 or coronavirus. 

Manu Dibango was admitted to a hospital on 20th March after exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus

As per the regular updates on his official Facebook page, the famous saxophonist had been admitted to a hospital in Paris and was expected to recover. 

“Manu Dibango is resting well and calmly recovering,” a statement on his Facebook page said. “He kindly asks to respect his privacy. He can’t wait to meet you again soon, and in these troubled times we all go through, wants you to take very good care of yourself.”

But on 24th March, he passed away “early this morning in a hospital in the Paris region” as shared by his music publisher Thierry Durepaire.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove,” a statement on his official Facebook page read, which also shared that his funeral will be held in “strict privacy”. And while a tribute will be arranged “when possible”, people can still send in their condolences by email. 

Manu Dibango had a flourishing career that spanned across more than six decades

In his extensive musical career as a musician and songwriter, Dibango worked with stars like South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo, American Herbie Hancock, and Bill Laswell. 

While not a milestone, he courted some big headlines in 2009 when he filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson, the “king of pop”, claiming that his two songs “Don’t Stop the Music” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” had phrases from his 1972 single “Soul Makossa” without his permission. But they later settled the matter out of court.

Apart from ‘Soul Makossa’, Manu Dibango was also known for his hit song ‘B Sides’ he wrote to support the Cameroon football team in the African Cup of Nations, which was later popularised by New York DJs.

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