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Avellon Williams 

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI –Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry led Haitians in mourning the death of Michael Benjamin, one of the country’s most renowned musicians, composers, guitarists,and producers. Benjamin collapsed and died on stage in Paris, where he had been greeted by jubilant fans and musicians.

PM Ariel Henry /Image, HBD/

“I am devastated by the news of the sudden death of young and very talented artist Michael Benjamin ‘Mikaben’. He is a great reference to Haitian music which has just passed away. The country and the Haitian youth have lost a beautiful soul. I extend my condolences to his family, friends, and the music community as a whole,” Henry said in a statement.

Minister of Culture Emmelie Prophet Milcé said he was in “dismay upon learning of the death of the 41-year-old artiste, adding that his death “is a great loss for Haiti and Haitian music.”

Minister Emmelie Prophet Milce /HBD/

I bow to the remains of this great artist and offer my sympathies to his family, his parents, and the cultural sector mourning his loss,” Milcé concluded.

Media reports said that Benjamin, alias “Mikaben,” had been invited by the Carimi group, which was celebrating his reunion when he suddenly collapsed on stage just after performing his hit “Ou pati”.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, the singer was unable to be resuscitated.

Image of ‘Mikeben’ performing on stage, then falling to his death /Image, YT/

In 1999, “Mikaben” was discovered by the Haitian public during the “Chante Nwèl” competition of Télémax and has had a successful musical career ever since.

According to Tourism Minister Luz Kurta Cassandra François, he was a “true ambassador for Haiti, with an extraordinary talent that shone through in every song and collaboration he produced. 

“He left surrounded by the energy and light of his fans, faithful to the end of his art and his love for his alma mater. He will be missed by all of us,” she added.

Minister Luz Kurta Cassandra Francois /Image, TDS/

“On his battlefield, the warrior fell sporting his blue and red in the eyes of the world,” according to Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond. “You represented not only your generation but all of Haiti.”

“A young star has gone out in front of our amazed eyes, leaving us in sadness,” said former First Lady Martine Moise. “Your heart was filled with love for your Motherland. You sang Ayiti until your last breath, you made it known everywhere. My sympathies go out to your family, friends, and fans during this difficult time. Good crossing dear Mika”.

Former first lady, Martine Moise /Image, CNN/

Former prime minister Jean-Henry Céant said he lost “a loved one from my son’s generation in Saint-Louis de Gonzague, Michael Benjamin (Mikaben).”

One of the most talented jewels of his generation of artists. I bow before this remains which touches me in my civic soul and my paternal emotion. Sometimes life lunches with the satraps but delights us with the scent of better days,” he said, while another former head of government, Laurent Lamothe, said he was saddened by the death.

“He was a man of conviction, courageous, upright, devoted to the music of his country Haiti,” Céant stated.

Haiti’s internationally renowned musician, Wyclef Jean, in a message on Twitter wrote “Rest in Peace King Mikaben, gone too soon”.

Fabrice Mauriès, the French ambassador to Haiti, said “with the sadness of the death on stage, in Paris, of the Haitian artist Michael Benjamin alias “Mikaben”, during the reunion concert of Carimi in France this Saturday, October 15.”

“I am very saddened by the death of Mikaben during the Carimi concert in Paris. Haiti is losing one of its greatest musical talents. I extend my condolences to his family and friends. The French Embassy in Haiti is available to his family in Haiti in these painful times,” Mauriès said.

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Avellon Williams

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