Diaspora

Haitians in shock after death of singer Mikaben in Paris – The Guardian

The 41-year-old, hailed as ‘one of the most talented artists of his generation’, collapsed on stage
Haitians paid tribute on Sunday to the singer Mikaben, whose sudden death during a concert in Paris left his country reeling.
The 41-year-old recording artist, whose real name is Michael Benjamin, suffered a suspected heart attack or cardiac arrest during a performance on Saturday, shocking fans who saw him collapse as he made his way off stage.
He was appearing at the 20,000-capacity Accor Arena in eastern Paris as a guest of the Haitian group Carimi.
He “died after suffering a seizure on stage and despite the efforts of emergency services”, the venue announced on Twitter.
Videos on social media show him performing, then suddenly turning and making his way towards the back of the stage. He collapsed in full view of spectators, the music stopped and medics were called.
Tributes poured in from across Haiti after his death, with radio stations and venues playing his music on repeat from Saturday night.
“I’m shocked by the sudden death of the young and very talented artist Michael Benjamin ‘Mikaben’,” the Haitian prime minister, Ariel Henry, wrote on Twitter. We have lost a major figure in Haitian music.”
Haiti-born rapper Wyclef Jean, of the hip-hop group the Fugees, called him “one of the most influential and inspirational young artists of our generation”, in an interview with the Miami Herald newspaper.
“Rest in peace,” he wrote in a tribute on Twitter, with a video showing him with Mikaben. “Gone too soon.”
The former Haitian premier Jean Henry Céant echoed the praise, hailing Mikaben as “one of the most talented artists of his generation”.
In a special broadcast by Magik9 radio, the singer Tamara Suffren said his death was “a blow to the country” – a state mired in security and health crises.
Mikaben, son of the famed singer Lionel Benjamin, was born in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in 1981, and was well known in the local music scene as a singer, writer and producer. He featured in several Carimi hits, including Baby I Missed You and Fanm sa Move.
Smiling and thanking fans, he posted a video to his more than 1 million followers on Instagram from inside the Accor Arena on Saturday before the concert.
His wife Vanessa, who is pregnant, posted a message thanking people for their prayers but asking for privacy.
“I’m in no condition to talk. I lost my other half and have no words,” she wrote.

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