Nigerian legendary reggae artist, Ras Kimono, has died.
The dreadlocked musician had slumped at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, while waiting to board a flight to the United States, on Saturday night, Punch reports.
According to sources close to him, Kimono was immediately rushed to an unnamed hospital in Ikeja and then taken to another hospital on Lagos Island where he later died on Sunday morning.
The death of the artiste, who was a native of Onicha Olona in the Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State and who recently clocked 60, was confirmed by the President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Pretty Okafor and the Chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, Chief Tony Okoroji.
The event has since thrown members of the Nigerian music and culture community into deep mourning.
In his reaction, Okafor described Kimono’s death as very shocking. He said, “Ras Kimono was a very humble and excellent person. He was more like a father to me than a friend or colleague. He was one musician that never had any issue with anybody in the music industry. We are really going to miss him.”
Another reggae musician, African Chyna, said that Kimono’s death had left a vacuum in the music industry that would be difficult to fill. Describing the deceased as a great musician who died before his time, he said, “Nigeria has just lost a great icon. He was not supposed to die so soon. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.”
A former President PMAN, Tee Mac Iseli, also expressed shock at the sad event. “I am shocked. I took him to PMAN as a young man in the 80s. We had since been very close,” he said.
Also, reacting, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State described the death of Kimono as a great loss to the people of the state and Nigeria’s music industry.
Okowa, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, on Sunday, commiserated with the Nigeria music industry, family and friends of Kimono.
He said, “I received with sadness the news of the passing away of Ras Kimono, a great reggae legend. He will be remembered for his hit song, ‘Rumbar Stylee’.
“I join lovers of reggae music to mourn this great loss. He belonged to an era of great reggae music exponents in Nigeria.”
The governor added that Kimono had spent all his life promoting good governance through reggae music, good entertainment and healthy community relations.
Still shocked by the sad event, a popular musician, Baba Fryo, said he spoke with the deceased three days before his passage. “We spoke and, based on my observation, he wasn’t sick. I am worried at the news of his death. I am shocked,” he said.
Reacting to a message posted on Facebook, a close friend of Kimono, Iwa Okosun, suggested that Kimono might have been ill. He said, “We were together on Wednesday afternoon. He said he was coming from the clinic.”
Then, addressing the deceased, Okosun added, “Just last month, we were with you celebrating your 60th birthday. I’m in shock. God will strengthen your family to bear this huge pain. Rest in peace, Kimono.”