8 Famous Africans Who Have Died From COVID-19

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Famous Africans
These are eight famous Africans who have died from the COVID-19 virus pandemic which has spread to 52 of the 54 African countries. Saxophonist Manu Dibango, from Cameroon, performs during Franck Sorbier’s Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2018 fashion collection in Paris, Wednesday, Jan.24, 2018. Image: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 115,000 lives globally and continues to spread at an alarming rate.

Africa has not been spared, with more than 14,400 confirmed cases reported across 52 out of 54 African countries and the continental death toll surpassing 780.

COVID-19 has also led to the deaths of people who were famous for their musical talent, political achievements, pioneering efforts in sport or professional contribution to industries including science and TV broadcasting.

Here are 8 famous Africans who have died from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pape Diouf

Former soccer agent and administrator Pape Diouf became the first person to die from the coronavirus in Senegal. The former president of Olympique Marseille soccer club in France died on March 31 at the age of 68. Diouf was in charge of Olympique de Marseille for four years until 2009, making him the first – and to date only – Black president of a European soccer club, according to TheAfricaReport.

Zororo Makamba

On March 23, Zororo Makamba, a 30-year-old Zimbabwean television journalist died after testing positive for the coronavirus, marking the first death from the viral disease in the Southern African country. The popular broadcaster and presenter suffered from a rare chronic, neuromuscular illness called myasthenia gravis.

Manu Dibango

Cameroonian Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango died on March 24 after contracting the coronavirus, according to his official Facebook page. The 86-year-old was best known for the 1972 hit, Soul Makossa. The saxophonist was one of the pioneers of Afro-jazz, fusing funk with traditional Cameroonian music to produce a unique sound.

Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango

Former Republic of Congo President Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango died on March 30 after contracting the COVID-19 virus. Yhombi-Opango died at the age of 81 in a Paris hospital, according to News24. He struggled with undisclosed underlying health conditions before contracting the virus. Yhombi-Opango was president of Congo from April 1977 until he was replaced in February 1979 by the current president Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Gita Ramjee

World-renowned South African HIV AIDS researcher Gita Ramjee died on March 31 after reportedly suffering COVID-19 related complications. In 2018, Ramjee was awarded the Outstanding Female Scientist Award by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships for her HIV research, according to IOL.

Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi

Another of the famous Africans on this list is Somalian musician Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi who died on April 7 in London at the age of 92 after contracting the coronavirus. He was considered to be one of the founding fathers of contemporary Somali music, earning the nickname the “King of Oud” in reference to the traditional guitar-like instrument that he played, RFI reported.

Aurlus Mabélé

On March 20, Congolese musician Aurlus Mabélé died at the age of 66 in a French hospital in Paris after contracting the coronavirus. He reportedly struggled with illness for many years before his death. His fans called him the king of soukous – the high-tempo Congolese dance music for which he was popular across Africa, according to TheCitizen.

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Mahmoud Jibril

Former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril was 68 when he died from the coronavirus on April 5 in an Egyptian hospital in Cairo, according to AlJazeera. The former politician was hospitalized for two weeks before he died. Jubril was the head of the rebel government that overthrew Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Jibril was the interim Libyan leader until the country held its first free elections in 2012 and has lived in Egypt in recent years.