Haitians in shock after the death of singer Mikaben in Paris | Music
Haitians paid tribute on Sunday to singer Mikaben, whose sudden death during a concert in Paris left his country reeling.
The 41-year-old artist, whose real name is Michael Benjamin, suffered a heart attack or cardiac arrest during a performance on Saturday, shocking fans who watched him collapse as he left the stage.
He was performing at the 20,000-seat Accor Arena in eastern Paris as a guest of Haitian band Carimi.
He “died after suffering a seizure on stage and despite the efforts of the emergency services”, announced the room on Twitter.
Videos on social media show him performing, then suddenly turn around and walk to the back of the stage. He collapsed in full view of onlookers, 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 starting Saturday night.
“I am shocked by the sudden death of young and very talented artist Michael Benjamin ‘Mikaben’,” Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote on Twitter. We have lost a major figure in Haitian music.
Haiti-born rapper Wyclef Jean, of hip-hop group the Fugees, called him “one of the most influential and inspiring young artists of our generation” in an interview with the Miami Herald newspaper.
“Rest in peace,” he wrote in a tribute on Twitter, along with a video showing him with Mikaben. “Left too early.”
Former Haitian Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant echoed the praise, hailing Mikaben as “one of the most talented artists of his generation.”
In a Magik9 radio special, singer Tamara Suffren said her death was “a blow to the country” – a state mired in security and health crises.
Mikaben, son of famous 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 starred in several Carimi hits, including Baby I Missed You and Fanm sa Move.
Smiling and thanking the fans, he posted a video to his more than one million Instagram followers 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 am in no condition to speak. I lost my other half and I have no words,” she wrote.