Legendary Congolese vocalist, Papa Wemba (real name Jules Kikumba) is dead. age 67, the artist apparently sagged during a live-performance at a music festival in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, early Sunday morning.
A report from an private morgue in Abidjan where his body was taken, stated Wemba was performing at the Anoumabo Urban Music Festival (FEMUA) when he collapse on stage.
According to Papa Wemba’s spokesman, Henry Vokia, the singer suffered a seizure while performing on stage.
Vokia said, “Papa Wemba had sung the first and the second song. While singing the third song, he collapsed. I was following the concert live on television. I saw the dancers surround him. I thought it was a scene for the concert.
“But then I saw people from the Ivorian Red Cross pop up on stage. Suddenly, we cut the signal of the Ivorian television. I tried to call the manager of Papa Wemba abroad, Cornelie.
“He told me that Papa Wemba fell during a concert. I remember 10 minutes later, I was told that he is in intensive care. I called 30 minutes after, Cornelie told me that Papa Wemba had passed away.”
Footage from the live performance showed his back-up singers rushing over to help the stricken star in his last moments.
Before his death, Papa Wemba was a globally-acclaimed exponent of modern Congolese rhumba. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, he was considered one of the greatest musicians that ever lived.
Wemba’s music had influenced generations of Congolese and he was a living reminder of better times, especially the 1970s, when the Congo was still known as Zaire.
Watch the moment Papa Wemba collapsed on stage below: