CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry led Haitians in mourning the death of the country’s most prominent singer, composer, guitarist and producer Michael Benjamin, who collapsed and died on stage in Paris after being greeted by a jubilant audience.
“I am devastated by the news of the sudden death of young and very talented artist Michael Benjamin ‘Mikaben’. He is a great reference of 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.
Culture Minister, Emmelie Prophet Milcé, said he learned with “dismay” of the death of the 41-year old artiste, adding, his death “is a huge loss for the country and for Haitian music”.
“Emmelie Prophet Milcé bows before the remains of this great artist and offers his sympathies to his family, his parents, the cultural sector saddened by this departure,” the Culture Minister added.
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 formed his hit, “Ou pati”.
Emergency services were rushed to the venue but the singer could not have been resuscitated. He was discovered by the Haitian public in 1999, during the competition “Chante Nwèl” of Télémax. “Mikaben” had a 20-year musical career crowned with success, whether in Haiti or abroad.
Tourism Minister Luz Kurta Cassandra François in extending her condolences, described him as “a true ambassador for Haiti, with an extraordinary talent that transpired in every song and collaboration.
“He left surrounded by the energy and the light of his fans, faithful to the end to his art and his love for the alma mater. He will be missed by all of us,” she added.
Haiti Ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond said, “The warrior fell sporting his blue and red in the eyes of the world on his battlefield. You represented not only your generation, but all of Haiti.”
Former First Lady, Martine Moïse, said “A young star has gone out before our amazed eyes, leaving us in sadness. You carried your motherland in your heart. You sang Ayiti, you made it known everywhere until your last breath. Sympathies to your family, friends and fans. Good crossing, dear Mika.”
Former Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant said he has lost “a loved one from my son’s generation in Saint-Louis de Gonzague, Michael Benjamin”.
“One of the most talented jewels of his generation of artists. I bow before this remains which touches me in my civic soul and in 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”.
Haiti’s internationally renowned musician, Wyclef Jean, in a message on Twitter wrote, “Rest in Peace King Mikaben, gone too soon.”
The French Ambassador to Haiti, Fabrice Mauriès, said he learned “with 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.”