William Onyeabor dies aged 70

The Nigerian synth-funk musician has passed away at home

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William Onyeabor has died at home in Nigeria, aged 70, according to his label Luaka Bop.

The Nigerian synth-funk musician recorded nine albums between 1977 and 1985, but found international fame with the 2013 compilation Who Is William Onyeabor?.

Also a successful businessman, awarded West African Industrialist Of The Year in the late ’80s, Onyeabor produced and pressed his own records at his own pressing plant, Wilfilms Limited. Quitting music, however, Onyeabor found religion and thereafter widely refused any interview requests about his recordings, even after the release of Who Is William Onyeabor?, 2014 covers and remix album What?! and boxsets of his entire work.


In 2014, Damon Albarn assembled a group to perform Onyeabor’s music live – guests included Luaka Bob head David Byrne, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, LCD Soundsystem’s Pat Mahoney, Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, Money Mark and The Lijadu Sisters – while a documentary, Fantastic Man, also surfaced that same year.

Onyeabor died at his home in Enugu, Nigeria on January 16, following a short illness.

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