Africa’s most populous musician, Papa Wemba born Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba died Sunday at the age of 66 in Abidjan where he was attending the Anoumabo Urban Music Festival (FEMUA), according to a press statement.
Wemba, known as the King of Rumba suffered a seizure while performing in Anoumabo, a village located in Marcory, south of Abidjan.
Wemba died in a clinic in Abidjan where he was taken after he had collapsed.
Salif Traoré aka A’Salfo, Magic System lead singer, which organized the festival confirmed Wemba’s death in a statement.
Wemba was scheduled to perform along several other artists in Korhogo, north of Abidjan to draw the curtains on the ninth edition of FEMUA holding under the theme youth and development.
Wemba, born on 14 June 1949 in Lubefu in Kasai-Oriental in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Molokai village chief was a singer, songwriter and actor.
He influenced several Congolese and African music stars including Koffi Olomide.
Wemba was performing in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast when he dramatically fell to the floor.
Footage from the show revealed his backing singers rushing over to help the stricken star.
Local media later reported he had suffered a seizure and died aged 66.
Real name Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, he was one of Africa’s most popular musicians.
Organisers from FEMUA later confirmed Papa Wemba had died during a press conference.
His press spokesman Henry Christmas Mbuta Vokia, told local station Radio Okapi, “Around 5:10, time of Abidjan, Papa Wemba was announced on stage.
“He sang 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 Papa Wemba. I thought it was a scene for the concert.”
“But then I see people from the Ivorian Red Cross pop up on stage.”
“Suddenly we cut the signal of the Ivorian television. I tried to talk to call the manager of Papa Wemba abroad, Cornelie.
“He told me that Papa Wemba fell during a concert.”
“I remember ten minutes later, I was told that he is in intensive care. I call thirty minutes after, Cornelie told me that Papa Wemba passed away.”