Haitian singer and musician Mikaben was performing on stage at the Accor Arena in Paris on October 15 when he collapsed in front of the crowd, according to Page Six. According to The Guardian, the 41-year-old may have had a heart attack or cardiac arrest while performing and fell while trying to move away from the stage. The medics were called but unfortunately Mikaben, whose first name is Michael Benjamin, died after the incident.
The following day, Accor Arena announced in French on Twitter (via CNN): “Last night during the Carimi concert, one of the singers, Michael Benjamin, Mikaben, died after fainting on stage and despite the intervention of the emergency services. The entire team at Accor Arena is terribly saddened and sends all their support to his family and loved ones at this painful time.”
Mikaben’s wife, Vanessa Benjamin, took to Instagram to share her sorrow and wrote, “Up mon Dieu Heavenly Father I know you make no mistakes and you will not give us what we cannot bear but… the pain is very heavy. Please help me oh merciful Lord.” Her previous post read, “Thank you for the prayers but please stop calling me. I am unable to speak. I have lost my other half and I have no words. Fans and friends have since taken to social media to offer their condolences.
Haiti’s Prime Minister and fellow singers pay tribute to Mikaben
Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry tweeted about Mikaben’s death. “I am devastated by the news of the sudden death of young and very talented artist Michael Benjamin ‘Mikaben’. It’s a great reference to Haitian music that just passed away. The country and Haitian youth have lost a beautiful soul. I offer my condolences to his family, friends and the music community at large,” Henry wrote (via NY Post).
Haitian-born singer/songwriter Wyclef Jean also shared his devastation. “This is a shock,” he told the Miami Herald. Jean remembered jamming with Mikaben in New York. “All I could remember was his smile. This is one of the most influential and inspiring young artists of our generation,” he said. Jean also shared a video of him and Mikaben together on Twitter, writing, “Rest in Peace King @mikaben Gone too soon.”
Fellow artist Roberto Martino told the Herald: “I am incredulous. This is someone I’ve worked with for years and considered a brother, a good friend. We talked almost every day. It is clear that Mikaben was loved by many and will be missed. Mikaben is survived by his wife Vanessa Benjamin, who is pregnant with their third child, and their two children, Gabriel and Leia Benjamin.