Africa has lost another worthy son in the shape of Papa Wemba. It's a painful beginning to 2016.
He was the voice of Africa.
We are all orphans... May the heaven and the spirits welcome him in peace. Papa Wemba will remain forever in our hearts.
Manu Dibango left the message on his Facebook page.
Papa Wemba fell ill on Saturday while performing at a music festival in Abidjan in Ivory Coast. He was 66.
The cause of his death is not known yet.
Baudouin Banza Mukalay, culture minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, confirmed his death, calling it a "great loss for the country and all of Africa".
"He was known as a true trendsetter," Suzanna Omiyo, a Kenyan musician, told Al Jazeera.
"One thing I remember about Papa Wemba was his way of performing and the fact that he was able to take African music to the global map. I believe he was one of the greatest musicians."
Video footage showed the moment when he slumped to the floor behind a group of dancers before performers rushed to his aid.
"Papa Wemba wanted to die on stage, that's what he told me two weeks ago when I spoke to him on the phone," Salif Traore, a festival promoter and singer also known as A'Salfo, told the AFP news agency.
Born in 1949, Wemba, whose real name was Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, began his singing career in religious choirs.
He helped modernise Congolese rumba music, with the genre that emerged - soukous - influencing music across Africa.
Together with his bands Zaiko Langa Langa, Isifi and Viva La Musica, he racked up hit after hit, including L'Esclave and Le Voyageur.
He appeared in two feature films, Life Is Beautiful (1987) and Wild Games (1997)