PARIS (AFP) – Jacob Desvarieux, the Guadeloupean co-founder of Caribbean band Kassav’ which shot to global fame in the 1980s by creating the fast-beat zouk music style, has died of Covid-19.

Local media in the French territory of Guadeloupe announced his death aged 65 late on Friday (July 30), prompting an outpouring of grief.

“The West Indies, Africa and music have just lost one of their greatest ambassadors,” tweeted Senegalese music star Youssou N’Dour.

“Jacob, thanks to your art, you brought the West Indies and Africa closer together. Dakar, where you once lived, mourns you. Farewell, friend.”

In poor health after undergoing a kidney transplant, the singer and guitarist was taken to hospital in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe’s largest city, on July 12 after catching Covid-19.

“A giant of zouk music. An unparalleled guitarist. An emblematic voice of the West Indies. Jacob Desvarieux was all of these things at once,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

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