Nigerian funk pioneer William Onyeabor passed away in his sleep on Monday. He was 70.
The news was confirmed by the label Luaka Bop, who noted that Onyeabor passed “peacefully” in his sleep following a brief illness at his home in Enugu, Nigeria.
Over the course of his musical career, Onyeabor released nine albums throughout the 70s and 80s before spending much of his time in his hometown of Enugu, where he became President of the Music Union and Chairman of the city’s local football team. His 2013 release Who is William Onyeabor? and following documentary Fantastic Man propelled his story to the United States, yielding the “Atomic Bomb” live shows that landed at major festivals including Bonnaroo and tributes led by the likes of David Byrne.