Papa Wemba suffered a seizure while on stage at an urban music festival in Abidjan, the Festival des musiques urbaines d’Anoumabo (FEMUA) according to Congolese radio station Okapi.
Papa Wemba (also known as Jules Presley Shungu Wembadio) was one of the leading figures in the Congolese music scene and released more than a dozen albums with a variety of bands from the 70s onwards.
Papa Wemba was born in Kasai, Zaire in June 14, 1949. In 1970, he co-founded of the great youth group Zaiko Langa Langa. There he pushed the rumba in new and exciting directions and was one of the pioneers of ‘rumba-rock’. In 1974 he left to form his own band, Isife Lokole, and then two years later began Viva La Musica. He sang in his tribal dialect KiTetela as well as Lingala.
Papa Wemba was also famous for being the founder of the Sapeurs.
Papa Wemba was also famous for being the founder of the Sapeurs – SAPE (la Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes). He wanted to promote ‘high standards of personal cleanliness, hygiene and smart dress, to a whole generation of youth across Zaire.’ It was also a way of protesting against oppression during the 30-year rule of President Mobutu.
In 1996, Papa Wemba was given the award for the best African Artist at the KORA, the first all-Africa Music Awards. This was an honour shared with the Senegalese legend Youssou N’Dour.