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RIP William Onyeabor
Christian Eede , January 18th, 2017 10:51

Nigerian musician dies aged 70

Nigerian synth pioneer William Onyeabor has died aged 70.

Onyeabor came to prominence in recent years after his dazzling '70s synth-funk albums were rediscovered and reissued in 2013 on Luaka Bop's Who Is William Onyeabor? retrospective. The label announced the news of his death this morning via Facebook. "He died peacefully in his sleep following a brief illness, at his home in Enugu, Nigeria," they said. Their tribute describes him as "an extraordinary artist, businessman and visionary".

Onyeabor composed and self-released nine albums between 1977 and 1985 - they were all pressed and printed at Wilfilms Limited, which was his personal pressing plant in southeast Nigeria. In 2014, the retrospective of his work, which took Luaka Bop five years to put together in pursuing Onyeabor and licensing the music, was followed by a documentary, Fantastic Man, which looked into his story, as well as a series of live shows called 'Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor?' which saw a number of special guests perform his music together.

Onyeabor was notably reclusive even after his music was rediscovered and refused many of the interview requests that came his way following the release of Who Is William Onyeabor? "We would like to send our deepest condolences to his family and thank each and every one of you who has helped share the love for his music around the world," further adds Luaka Bop in its tribute.