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Music

Africa’s Jazz Legend Manu Dibango Dies in France of Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

PARIS — Renowned jazz man Manu Dibango, to many the beloved “Papy Groove” who served as an inspiration and pioneer in his art, died on Tuesday with the coronavirus, his official Facebook page announced. He was 86.

The saxophonist who inspired what is known as “world music” was recently hospitalized with an illness “linked to COVID-19,” his official Facebook page said last Wednesday, adding that he was “resting well and calmly recovering.”

The announcement did not say where he had been hospitalized, but Dibango, who was born in Cameroon, was known to live in France.

“He can’t wait to meet you again,” the earlier message said. That was not to be.

The artist inspired “world music” in the 1970s with the song “Soul Makossa.”

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 who are in the closest circle of the deceased because of a lockdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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