One of the most popular and legendary Ethiopian musicians, Alemayehu Eshete died Thursday at 80 in Addis Ababa.
Eshete died of a heart attack shortly after he was admitted to hospital, bringing to an end a musical career that spanned four political epochs in the country.
He underwent a heart surgery in Italy to fix blockages in arteries five years ago. This forced him to limit his performances.
Born in 1941, he was one of the most renowned Ethio-jazz musicians and modern Ethiopian performers in the early 1960s. Eshete influenced Ethiopian modern music through his outstanding pieces that were loved by many.
In 2015, his “Temar Lije” or “My Son, You Had Better Learn” won an award in Germany.
He also won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Ethiopia. His stylish dress code and hairstyle made him popular among the youth in the 1960s and 1970s.
His colleagues and fans have continued to send messages of condolence.
In his words, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said: “I’m saddened to hear that Alemayehu Eshete, a role model for many singers, has passed away.”
“Ethiopia will always be honored in his works. Those who worked for Ethiopia will not die, but will rest in glory,” the Prime Minister added.
Swedish Independent Cultural Organisation, which has an office in Addis Ababa, also paid tribute to Eshete: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Alemayehu Eshete. Known for his best timeless tunes, ‘Temar Lije’ and ‘Addis Ababa Bete’, Eshete was one of the most popular legendary Ethiopian singers. Our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends”
Born and raised in Jimma, Eshete later played much of the English vocals of American vocalists Pat Bonn, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley.
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