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In-The-Line-Of-Duty: Musical Legend, Congo Rumba King, Papa Wemba, Dies on Stage @ 66



King of Congolese rumba, Papa Wemba has died aged 66 after collapsing during a concert.

Footage from the show in Cote d‘Ivoire showed him slumped on stage. His dancers, unaware of what was happening, continued to perform before rushing to his aid.

He died before he could be brought to hospital, a spokesman for the Ivosep morgue in Abidjan told Reuters news agency.

Born in 1949, Wemba, whose real name was Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, began his singing career in religious choirs.

He helped modernise Congolese rumba music, making it one of the most popular sounds in Africa.

Together with his bands Zaiko Langa Langa, Isifi and Viva La Musica, he racked up hit after hit, including L’Esclave and Le Voyageur, and worked with international stars like Peter Gabriel.

In 2004, he was convicted of people-smuggling in France and spent three months in prison.

The conviction related to a racket whereby illegal immigrants were taken to Europe posing as members of his band.

A Belgian court convicted him of the same crime in 2012, handing down a fine of €22,000 (£17,143; $24,690) and suspended prison sentence of 15 months.

He was also once jailed in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) for allegedly having an affair with a general’s daughter.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila has expressed his condolences, and there are likely to be large events paying homage in the coming days.

He appeared in two feature films, Life Is Beautiful (1987) and Wild Games (1997).

May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Amen

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