Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, co-creator of Afrobeat, died at the age of 79 on Thursday.
The musician suffered a sudden aortic rupture and was taken to Pompidou Hospital in Paris, Eric Trosset said.
Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti’s band Africa 70 in the 1960s and ’70s, and most recently played alongside Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn as part of the supergroup The Good, the Bad and the Queen.
Afrobeats, a pulsating West African style of music, was popularized by its pioneer, the late musician and political activist Kuti in the 1960s.
Kuti, described as one of Africa’s biggest stars, used its groovy beats and his song lyrics as a commentary to speak against the military government in Nigeria at the time.
But a new generation of Afrobeats artists has gained success and recognition internationally through the music genre, though they’ve steered clear of political references in their music.
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea paid tribute on social media: “The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us. What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove.”
Nigerian-American rapper Jidenna described Allen as “The Godfather of Afrobeat Rhythms” and said his sound changed lives.