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Cameroon jazz-funk great Manu Dibango dies after COVID-19 hospitalization

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Manu Dibango, who fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music, died Tuesday with the coronavirus, according to his music publisher. He was 86.

Known for Soul Makossa, tune sampled by Michael Jackson, Rihanna

The Associated Press ·

Renowned jazz-funk master Manu Dibango, the beloved ‘Papy Groove’ who served as an inspiration and pioneer in his art, died on Tuesday from the coronavirus, his official Facebook page announced. He was 86. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)

Manu Dibango, who fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music, died Tuesday with the coronavirus, according to his music publisher. He was 86.

The Cameroon-born saxophonist, who gained international fame with his 1972 song Soul Makossa, died in a hospital in the Paris region, Thierry Durepaire said.

Dibango was hospitalized with an illness “linked to COVID-19,” his official Facebook page said last week.

Soul Makossa was one of the earliest hits in the nascent world music scene, including a catchy hook copied by some of the world’s biggest pop stars.

It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of @ManuDibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, further to covid 19. Your music will always stay with us. #ManuDibango #RIP #SoulMakossa pic.twitter.com/IJkjla2rAt

@ManuDibango

In 2009, Dibango filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson and Rihanna, claiming they had stolen his music in Wanna Be Startin’ Something and Don’t Stop the Music, respectively. Jackson settled out of court.

Funeral services were to be “held in strict privacy” followed by a tribute “when possible,” Tuesday’s announcement said.

Funerals in France have been limited to 20 people in the closest circle of the deceased because of a lockdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Dibango is survived by four children.

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