Nigerians have reacted to the death of Reggae legend Ras Kimono.
Kimono, 60, who passed on at the Lagoon Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos, is survived by his wife and musician daughter Oge.
Recounting his last moments, Kimono’s one-time manager and friend Eddy Lawani, said the musician was billed to travel to the United States but complained of being unwell on Friday.
He was taken to a hospital in Ikeja from where he was referred to Lagoon Hospital.
“He was in the Intensive Care Unit on Friday because he said he could not breath well.
“But on Saturday, he was receiving visitors and friends; we were all with him. And they all joked and left.
“This morning (Sunday), suddenly between 11am and 12pm, I think he went into some kind of situation. By 12:30pm he was pronounced dead. The post-mortem is not issued yet.”
Famous for his rub-a-dub style, Ras Kimono was born in Okeleke Elumelu Onwubuya, on May 9, 1958. He hailed from Delta State.
Kimono released his debut album with his Massive Dread Reggae Band, ‘Under Pressure’ on Premier Music label in 1989. It was a hit.
He started his musical career as a student of Gbenoba Secondary School, Agbor, Delta State and joined a group cJastix Reggae Ital along with Majek Fashek, Amos McRoy and Black Rice Osagie.
Known not to shy away from political activism, Ras Kimono who said he lived as a vegetarian for 37 years, used his songs to address socio-political situations in the country.
He released among other albums, ‘Rasta get jail’ and ‘Rhumba style’, He won many awards including the Nigerian Music Awards, and Fame Music Awards.
In a tribute, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) “deeply regrets” the death of a front-line member of our board, great African and great musician, the reggae toaster, the great Ras Kimono Onwubuya.”
Senator Ben Murray Bruce, tweeted: ‘I feel so sad hearing about the death of reggae legend, Ras Kimono. He redefined the face of music and there will be none like him. He will be dearly missed.’
Senator Dino Malaye too tweeted: ‘Death why! Why! My brother and my friend. Legend Ras Kimono rest in Peace. What a black day! What an unceremonious exit. I love you and will miss you. Sad sad sad,’ he said.
Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde also posted Ras Kimono’s picture on his Instagram handle, with the caption, ‘RIP Ras Kimono.’
Media guru Taiwo Obe tweeted: ‘On Sunday, February 3, a bubbly Ras Kimono, accompanied by his first cousin, Austin, visited me to discuss a show he was going to have at the Freedom Park towards his 60th b’day later in April. We had an engaging evening. Some mins ago, @qedng broke the news of his death.’
At the deceased 60th birthday party which took place at Times Square, Ikeja, Lagos were celebrities like Sir Shina Peters, Chief Tony Okoroji, Eddy Lawani, Daddy Showkey, Eddy Remedies, Kenny Saint Brown, Oritz Wiliki, Alariwo of Africa, Righteous Man, Bisi Olatilo and others.
At the party, Daddy Showkey revealed how Ras Kimono made him a successful musician by giving him the chance to perform at Floating Buka and blessing his first CD at the late musician’s Omole, Lagos residence.
After a hiatus, Kimono in 2017, returned to the music scene with a single, ‘Blessed Africa’ which critiqued the continent’s ironic poverty, despite its rich deposit of human and natural resources.
He said: “We are in a situation where Africans are poor even though we have plenty in terms of good soil, crude oil that has become a curse to the nation,” Ras Kimono said in an interview.
“We also have intellectuals that would prefer to take their intellects elsewhere other than Nigeria. We have musical talents that are being exploited and left in penury, our pensioners cannot eat the fruit of their labour, our schools are in horrible conditions, we have half-baked graduates who cannot complete a statement. What is really wrong with a continent that is really Blessed by God?”