Manu Dibango, the legendary African saxophonist, has died at 86 in Paris due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Dibango was born in Douala, Cameroon and moved to France to attend high school, where he learned to play the saxophone. He is survived by four children.

A statement released on the musician’s Facebook page early Tuesday morning by his music publisher Thierry Durepaire said, “A voice raises from far away… It is with deep sadness that we announce 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.”

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Because of the ongoing pandemic and global crisis caused by COVID-19, Dibango’s family will hold the funeral services in strict privacy. They will hold a tribute for the public when the pandemic allows. Read the full statement below:

Manu Dibango is best known for his 1972 hit, “Soul Makossa”, meaning “I will dance,” which both Michael Jackson and Rihanna sampled in “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and “Don’t Stop The Music”, respectively. The saxophonist became one of the most well-known and influential musicians in world dance music by fusing African rhythms with funk music. Dibango collaborated with countless musicians over the years, including jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, and recorded dozens of albums since the late ’60s. Listen to “Soul Makossa” below:

Manu Dibango –”Soul Makossa”

[Video: ShiftsInReality]