French-Cameroonian Jazz Legend Manu Dibango Dies at 86 From COVID-19 Complications

Manu Dibango performs at the end of the Franck Sorbier Spring Summer 2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 24, 2018 in Paris, France.
Manu Dibango performs at the end of the Franck Sorbier Spring Summer 2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 24, 2018 in Paris, France.
Photo: Thierry Chesnot (Getty Images)

Jazz legend Manu Dibango has died at the age of 86.

According to BBC, the French-Cameroonian saxophonist and vibraphonist died due to complications stemming from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus strain.

Advertisement

“It is with deep sadness that we announce [to] 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,” read the statement from Dibango’s official Facebook page. “His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organized when possible.”

The official statement also encourages fans to send condolences to the family via email.

Advertisement

Born Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango on December 12, 1933, during French colonial rule, Dibango fused jazz, traditional Cameroonian music and funk, which sparked a musical career spanning over six decades.

Dibango was best known for his hit 1972 song “Soul Makossa,” which was famously sampled by Michael Jackson in “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” (including a remake of the song in 2008, featuring Akon).

Advertisement

BBC reports:

In 2009, the saxophonist filed a lawsuit claiming that Michael Jackson stole a hook from his song, “Soul Makossa,” for two songs on the world’s best-selling album, Thriller. Jackson settled the case out of court.

Advertisement

Additionally, Rihanna sampled the song in “Don’t Stop the Music.” Dibango also worked with stars such as fellow jazz legend Herbie Hancock and South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Rest in power, Manu Dibango.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

merdealors
MerdeAlors

Avec lui s’en va une grande partie de ma jeunesse.

Go in the light, Sir!