Ethiopian reggae singer Eyob Mekonnen dies at 37

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Eyob MekonnenImage source, Yisakal Entertainment
Image caption,
Eyob Mekonnen toured the US, Canada, the UK and Holland in June

Popular Ethiopian reggae singer Eyob Mekonnen has died.

Fans of the 37-year-old singer helped raise money for his treatment after he had a stroke last Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

He was flown to Kenya on Saturday, but he died in hospital on Sunday.

"He has made such a mark on the Ethiopian music scene, bringing a unique and poetic voice with thoughtful lyrics and a beautiful reggae vibe," a posting on his Facebook fan site said.

The page was set up on the social networking site last week called Let Us Pray for Eyob Mekonnen.

Its postings kept fans up-to-date on his condition and appealed for financial help to organise his transfer from hospital in Addis Ababa to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

"He was one of a kind... humble and extremely loyal," his close friend and manager Eyob Alemayehu, from the music promoter Yisakal Entertainment, told BBC Africa.

"A man of his word, reliable, caring, a strong believer, very up front, talented and much much more," he said.

Born 1975 in the small town of Jijiga, in eastern Ethiopia, Eyob set up a five-man group called Zion Band, which offered a "reggae beat with a distinctive Ethiopian cast", Yisakal Entertainment said.

His anthems "promote morality, love, peace and social consciousness", the promoter said.

Eyob's debut album Kal came out in 2007 to great national acclaim and he had recently started his international career, touring the US, Canada and Europe in 2010, the company said.

A message on the Let Us Pray for Eyob Mekonnen page posted on Monday afternoon said the singer's body would be returned to Ethiopia on Tuesday and his funeral would be held on Wednesday.

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