Papa Wemba, a 67-year-old Congolese rumba music legend, died after collapsing on stage in Abidjan in the early hours of Sunday.

A report from a private morgue in Abidjan where his body was taken, said Wemba, born in 1949, was performing at the Anoumabo urban music festival (FEMUA) when he collapsed on stage.

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Wemba was born in 1949 in the Kasai-Oriental province, Democratic Republic of Congo.

He became a pivotal player on the African continent’s music scene and lived almost all his life as a musician.

Wemba, who started his career at the age of 20, was said to have inherited his love of song from his mother, who was a professional wailing woman at funerals.

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Report said the legend founded the label and group “Viva la Musica in 1977’’, and would later create scintillating videos while pioneering emblems of world music.

He also discovered and trained generations of African musicians like Koffi Olomide, and created SAPE, the Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People.

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Wemba, known as the King of Rumba Rock, won fans across Africa and Europe and worked with international stars including former Genesis singer, Peter Gabriel. (Reuters/NAN)


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