Manu Dibango

Manu Dibango, the acclaimed Cameroonian saxophonist whose 1972 hit “Soul Makossa” would later be sampled by some of the biggest names in music – including Michael Jackson – died Tuesday from coronavirus. He was 86.

His death was confirmed on the musician’s Facebook page. Dibango was hospitalized in France last week because of COVID-19.

He was born in Cameroon in 1933 and moved to Paris as a teenager.

While in France he learned saxophone and piano. Two decades later he was a staple of the European jazz scene.

He recorded his debut album in 1968. His most famous song “Soul Makossa” was released in 1972 – which would become sampled by Jackson, Kanye West, Will Smith and A Tribe Called Quest.

A music icon in his own right, Dibango collaborated with such legends as Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Don Cherry, Sly and Robbie, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, King Sunny Adé, Youssou N'Dour, Hugh Masekela and Fela Kuti.

The statement announcing his passing said that the funeral would be a private family event, but suggested a tribute would be scheduled soon.

Fans were also encouraged to send condolences to manu@manudibango.net.

Information from NPR.org and Rolling Stone contributed to this report.

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