It is with heavy hearts that we report African saxophonist Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango, who was professionally known as Manu Dibango, has reportedly passed away after complications from COVID-19.
BBC News reported that the Afro-jazz saxophonist died of COVID-19, the illness that is caused by the coronavirus. Dibango was reportedly hospitalized in Paris last week. Unfortunately, he did not recover and succumbed to the illness on Tuesday (March 24). He was 86.
His representatives confirmed the somber news in an announcement posted on his Facebook page. “It is with deep sadness that we announce to you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove,” the letter read. The announcement further stated that the funeral will be held “in strict privacy.” Following that, a public memorial will be “organized when possible.”
As BBC News noted, Dibango was internationally known for his 1972 hit, “Soul Makossa” among other musical offerings. Taking to Twitter, Afrobreat icon Angelique Kidjo commemorated Dibango’s memory, sharing a video of her rehearsing “Soul Makossa” with him.
“Dear Manu Dibango, you’ve always been there for me from my beginnings in Paris to this rehearsal just 2 months ago!” she penned. “You’re the original Giant of African Music and a beautiful human being. This coda of #SoulMakossa is for you!”
BET sends its love, light and prayers to Manu Dibango’s family and loved ones amid these difficult times.
(Photo: C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images)