Watch CBS News

Singer Mikaben dead at 41 after collapsing on stage during concert in Paris

Haitians are paying tribute to singer Mikaben, whose death Saturday night during a concert in Paris left his country reeling.  The 41-year-old recording artist, whose real name is Michael Benjamin, suffered a suspected heart attack during a performance, shocking fans who saw him collapse as he made his way off stage.

He was appearing at the 20,000-capacity Accor Arena in eastern Paris as a guest of Haitian group Carimi.

He "died after suffering a seizure on stage and despite the efforts of emergency services," the venue announced on Twitter.

Mikaben Performs At Symphony Space
Haitian musician Mikaben (born Michael Benjamin) plays guitar as he performs (as a special guest with Emeline Michel & her band) during the World Music Institute's 'Eritaj' ('Heritage') concert, in celebration of Haitian Heritage Month, at Symphony Space, New York, New York, May 25, 2019. Jack Vartoogian / Getty Images

Videos on social media show him performing, then suddenly turning and making his way toward the back of the stage.

He collapses in full view of spectators, the music stops and medics are called.

Tributes poured in from across Haiti after his death, with radio stations and venues playing his music on repeat from Saturday night.

"I'm shocked by the sudden death of the young and very talented artist Michael Benjamin 'Mikaben,'" Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote on Twitter.

"We have lost a major figure in Haitian music."

Haiti-born rapper Wyclef Jean, of the hip-hop group the Fugees, called him "one of the most influential and inspirational young artists of our generation" in an interview with The Miami Herald newspaper.

"Rest in peace," he wrote in a tribute on Twitter, with a video showing him with Mikaben. "Gone too soon."

Former Haitian premier Jean Henry Ceant echoed the praise, hailing Mikaben as "one of the most talented artists of his generation" on Twitter.  

In a special broadcast by Magik9 radio, singer Tamara Suffren said his death was "a blow to the country" -- a state mired in spiraling security and health crises.

Mikaben, son of famed singer Lionel Benjamin, was born in Haitian capital Port-au-Prince in 1981 and was well-known in the local music scene as a singer, writer and producer.

He featured in several Carimi hits, including "Baby I Missed You" and "Fanm sa Move."

Smiling and thanking fans, he posted a video to his more than one million followers on Instagram from inside the Accor Arena on Saturday before the concert.

His wife Vanessa, who is pregnant with their third child, posted a message thanking people for their prayers but asking for privacy, ET reported.

"I'm in no condition to talk. I lost my other half and have no words," she wrote.

Wyclef Jean paid tribute to the singer on Twitter, captioning a video of the two together, "Rest In Peace King @mikaben Gone too soon #haiti."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.