Singer Mikaben Dead at 41 After Collapsing During Performance in Paris – Haitians paid tribute to singer Mikaben on Sunday, after his untimely death during a concert in Paris left the country in shock. The 41-year-old recording artist, whose real name is Michael Benjamin, collapsed as he made his way off stage on Saturday after suffering a suspected heart attack or cardiac arrest.
He was performing as a guest of the Haitian group Carimi at the 20,000-capacity Accor Arena in eastern Paris. The venue announced on Twitter that he “died after suffering a seizure on stage and despite the efforts of emergency services.”
Social media videos depict him performing, then abruptly turning and moving to the back of the stage. When he collapsed in full view of the audience, the music stopped and medical personnel were summoned. Since Saturday night, radio stations and venues throughout Haiti have played his music on repeat in tribute to him.
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“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, the son of the renowned singer Lionel Benjamin, was born in 1981 in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and was well-known in the local music scene as a singer, songwriter, and producer. He appeared on a number of Carimi’s hits, including Baby I Missed You and Fanm sa Move.
Smiling and thanking fans, he posted a video to his more than one million Instagram followers from inside the Accor Arena before the concert on Saturday. His pregnant wife Vanessa posted a message thanking people for their prayers but requesting privacy. “I’m in no condition to talk. I lost my other half and have no words,” she wrote.
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