Singer Mikaben dies at 41 after going into cardiac arrest onstage in Paris

A man in a tan suit playing an acoustic guitar in front of a microphone on a stage
Haitian musician Mikaben performs at the World Music Institute’s 2019 heritage concert in New York.
(Jack Vartoogian / Getty Images)

Haitian musician Mikaben died at age 41 over the weekend after going into cardiac arrest and collapsing onstage during a concert in Paris.

The concert venue Accor Arena said Sunday via Twitter that the singer — also known as Michael Benjamin — fainted mid-performance and did not recover after emergency medical services responded. On Tuesday, a representative for Mikaben confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the recording artist went into cardiac arrest.

Mikaben performed Saturday with Haitian kompa band Carimi to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary. In concert footage shared on social media, Mikaben can be seen walking toward the band before falling hard on the stage. The music abruptly stops as the band members abandon their instruments and direct their attention to Mikaben.

In a statement, the Accor Arena team offered its condolences to Mikaben’s loved ones, including producer Claude Cyndecki, and his fans.

On Instagram, Mikaben’s wife, Vanessa Fanfan, mourned the loss of her “other half.”

“Oh mon Dieu, Heavenly Father, I know you don’t make mistakes and you won’t give us what we can’t [bear] but ... this pain is very heavy,” she wrote. “Help me please oh merciful Lord.”


Fanfan — who shared a young daughter with Mikaben — also posted a video of her and her late husband dancing together with the caption, “My sweet love, How did God manage to be without you for 41years?????”

Born to famed singer Lionel Benjamin in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mikaben was a vocalist, composer and producer who spanned several genres, including Haitian kompa, the Antillean zouk, Jamaican reggae and hip-hop. According to his bio on his website, Mikaben frequently collaborated with the band Carimi, contributing to tracks such as “Baby I Missed You” and “Fan’m sa’a Move.”

Mikaben was known for his ability to sing in Creole, French, English and Spanish, as well as his mastery of various instruments, including guitar, keyboard, bass and drums. He released his debut solo album, “Vwayaj,” in 2000, followed by other group and individual releases.

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Mikaben composed the song “Yon Ti Souf Pou Ayiti” (“A Little Breath for Haiti”) out of love and sorrow for his country. He released his latest album, “Mkbn,” in 2018, as well as a single, “Pou Manman M,” in May.