Cameroonian Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango dies from Covid-19

Nobel laureate and former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari and his wife, Eeva, have confirmed they have the virus

24 March 2020 - 12:00 By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Manu Dibango has died after contracting Covid-19.
Manu Dibango has died after contracting Covid-19.
Image: C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images

Veteran Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango died on Tuesday after contracting Covid-19, becoming the latest African artist to succumb to the virus.

The 86-year-old Cameroonian, best known for the 1972 hit Soul Makossa, died at a hospital in Paris, said a statement on Facebook.

“His funeral service will be held in strict privacy and a tribute to his memory will be organised when possible,” the statement said.

Dibango's death comes days after that of Congolese music legend Aurlus Mabélé, known as the “King of Soukous”, an up-tempo modern variant of Congolese rumba. He died on Thursday, also in Paris, aged 67.

Tributes for Dibango poured in on social media after news of his death broke.

Meanwhile, Nobel laureate and former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari and his wife, Eeva, have become the latest high-profile people to be diagnosed with the deadly virus.

Ahtisaari, 82, was confirmed to have the virus on Monday, the Finnish president's office said. Eeva, 83, tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.

They join Prince Albert II of Monaco, French politician Michel Barnier, actors Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, and Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina Elba.

— Additional reporting by AFP