The Haitian community is grieving for the sudden and unexpected death of Haitian music artist Michael “Mikaben” Benjamin. He passed away at the age of 41. According to the Haitian Times, on October 15, immediately after performing on stage with Carimi, a well known Haitian band, Benjamin collapsed. The Paris performance was a celebratory one, highlighting their reunion and anniversary. It has been suspected that he passed away from cardiac arrest.

Benjamin was a special guest performer that night, at the invitation of the Carimi band. They performed for fans in eastern Paris at the Accor Arena. Fan videos on social media show Benjamin on stage, performing, and then abruptly turning to make his way off the stage. He collapsed before making it out of view, sparking the music to stop and emergency services to be called immediately, according to The Guardian.   The venue sent out a tweet explaining what happened: “[last] night during the Carimi concert, one of the singers, Michael Benjamin, Mikaben of his artist name died following a malaise on stage and despite the intervention of the emergency services.”

His wife Vanessa Fanfan, who is pregnant with their child and due in December 2022, and his father, Lionel “Père Noël” Benjamin, are both mourning his death. His father inspired his son to be a musician. The senior Benjamin is lovingly known as the “Haitian Santa Claus,” because of his popular Christmas music, including his most well-known single, “Abdenwèl.”

After the devastating news broke, the country erupted with tributes of remembrance, shock, and sadness. Among those were Haitian-born Music Artist, Wyclef Jean, and Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry. Please see the tributes they posted below.

Music Artist Wyclef Jean

Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry

Translated, the Tweets from the Prime Minister say the following:

Tweet 1/2:
“I am devastated by the news of the sudden death of the young and very talented artist Michael Benjamin ‘Mikaben’. It is a great reference of Haitian music which has just passed away.”

Tweet 2/2:
“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.”

From the outpouring of support and tributes, it is especially clear that Benjamin will be truly missed.

This is the last video he posted before Benjamin passed away.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mikaben (@mikaben509)

And this was Benjamin’s last Tweet. Translated, it says the following:
“Good luck to my big brothers for tonight! Thank you for paving the way for us who follow you! We love you! Haiti loves you very much! May love and light accompany you during the concert where thousands of fans will be in perfect harmony with you.”

May Michael “Mikaben” Benjamin Rest in Peace.

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