Wemba was known as the 'king of rumba' and was also hailed as a style icon
Legendary Congolese musician Papa Wemba has died after collapsing on stage during a concert in Ivory Coast.
The 66-year-old artist, born Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, was known as the “king of rumba”, a popular Congolese dance genre. No cause of death has been given yet.
“It is a great loss for Congo and for all of Africa,” Congo’s cultural minister Baudouin Banza Mukalay said in a statement. “He was a self-made man, a role model for Congolese youth.”
During a prolific 45-year recording career, Papa Wemba helped to popularise rumba music across Africa and was also hailed as a style icon.
He moved to Paris in the ’80s and with his band Viva La Musica heightened rumba’s profile outside of Africa. He toured with Peter Gabriel in the early ’90s and appears on Gabriel’s 1994 concert album ‘Secret World Live’.
Wyclef Jean is among those to have paid tribute to Papa Wemba on Twitter, saying that the late musician “stood for an Africa united”.
Kinshasa rapper Youssoupha also paid tribute to Wemba on Twitter, writing in French: “Like my community, I am devastated by the death of Papa Wemba. He was the icon of our culture, of our lifestyle. This is a huge loss.”