Congolese music legend, Aurlus Mabélé, has passed away while battling COVID-19, friends and relatives said.
Mabélé died in a Paris hospital, France, the same day he was admitted.
He was 67.
His daughter, French singer Liza Monet, tweeted on Thursday that her father had died of COVID-19.
“I am inconsolable,” she wrote.
Also, a fellow member of his band, Loketo, Mav Cacharel, said on Facebook that the singer died of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, his manager, Jimmy Ouetenou, said it was not confirmed he died of COVID-19 and that he had long-term health problems, according to BBC.
Ouetenou said talks were already underway with the Congolese government for him to be buried in his home country.
In the meantime, his coffin will be placed in a burial vault until travel restrictions due to coronavirus are lifted.
Born as Aurélien Miatsonama in Congo-Brazzaville Mabélé was called the king of soukous – a high-tempo Congolese dance music popular across Africa.
Under his real name, he founded Les Ndimbola Lokole with his friends in Brazzaville and recorded some of the hottest hits that moved the African continent in the 1970s, such as Embargo, Zebola and Waka Waka
He would later move to Paris where he founded another band, Loketo, meaning ‘hips’ in Lingala – the language of most soukous songs, which is widely spoken in western DR Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.
He took soukous around the world with more than 10 million albums sold over a 30-years of musical career.