Haitian singer Michael Benjamin, affectionately known as Mikaben, has died at the age of 41.
The singer had been performing onstage in Paris with the Haitian konpa band CaRiMi when he reportedly collapsed.
The incident unfolded live on Twitter, with Frantz Duval, editor of a Haitian newspaper, first alerting fans that something was wrong.
Then, singer Mickael Guirand, told fans to clear out.
“End of the concert. We must evacuate the room,” Guirand said.
“It’s very complicated. We need prayers.”
Video footage from the concert shows Mikaben walking offstage when he suddenly collapses to the ground.
The venue was cleared while he was being tended to, with reports indicating that he was given CPR.
Mikaben was a respected singer, composer, guitarist, and producer whose hit “Ayti Se” touched millions in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.
He was born in Port-au-Prince and began writing at age 15.
Mikaben released multiple albums, formed the group Krezi Mizik, and also worked as a producer.
He was married to Vanessa Fanfan, and the couple had a daughter and another child on the way. Mikaben also had a son from a previous relationship.
“This is a shock,” Wyclef Jean told the Miami Herald.
“I’m in disbelief,” singer Roberto Martino told the outlet.
“This is somebody I was working with for years and considered a brother, a good friend. We talked almost everyday. We have a chat together.”
Martino spoke to Mikaben right before he took the stage on Saturday night, he told the Miami Herald.
“He was so happy. He couldn’t wait to get on that stage with CaRiMi. It was one of his biggest accomplishments in life. It’s a band that he idolized,” Martino told the outlet.
“I’m at a lost for words. I’m broken.”
An official cause of death has not been revealed.
Shocked fans – some of whom were in attendance in Paris – have shared their tributes to the late singer on social media.
“Mikaben @mikaben on stage this Saturday, October 15, 2022 as part of Carimi’s big concert-reunion at Accor Arena, Paris . He was 41-years-old and passed away on this same stage, a few minutes after his unforgettable performance,” one fan wrote.
“‘Ou Pati’ was the last song you performed on one of the biggest stages in the world for one of the most iconic moments in Haitian music history. You left everything on that stage and left us with a smile on your face,” wrote another.
“@mikaben gave his life to Haiti. He carried our flag on his back until his dying breath. At one point before singing you can see he was in deep pain and yet he persevered. It’s almost as if the same flag he was fighting for gave him strength to finish what he began,” another fan wrote.
“Sad to hear about Mikaben’s passing. He was immensely talented and he loved Haiti so much. He was so eager to work with Haitian artists and shine TOGETHER. This is a harsh loss. My condolences to his family, wife & children. Fly high Mika,” another fan wrote.