Aziz [Photo: Courtesy]

Legendary Kenyan Rhumba musician Abdi Aziz Kilambo is dead. The singer, guitarist and bandleader of Benga Africa passed on at a hospital in Voi in Taita-Taveta County on Saturday night.

Famed for several popular singles including Nyumbani ni Nyumbani and Sina Kazi, the 67-year-old had long retired from performing live music and had been battling diabetes and hypertension.

Fred Obachi Machoka, a veteran radio and TV host led friends in sending heartfelt condolences messages to the family of the late, more so, his wife Jamilla Ndinda Kasulu.

“Rest in peace my friend AZIZ ABDI KILAMBO ..... #RogaRoga and @RadioCitizenFM family respects you and music. Kweli "mambo mengi hukupendelea". Rest in peace bro. Thank you for the music,” Obachi tweeted.

“Alale salama Mzee Aziz Abdi Kilambo.He immensely contributed to the Kenyan music industry,” @NyantikaChester also tweeted.

@AtembaRichard replying to @fredomachoka said “Aziz was a brilliant musician. I do remember @fredomachoka loved his music and that used to make my day since it was through radio one could easily access such hits. Let him RIP. @RadioCitizenFM.”

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According to Kombo Kala -a cousin of the singer, Aziz died of a heart condition which was made worse by his underlying health issues.

The singer had reportedly been ill for the past month before his condition worsened on Saturday, April 12.

"A doctor at the hospital in Voi has confirmed the cause of death as a heart condition, which was compounded by extended hypertension and diabetes," Kala told the Daily Nation.

Aziz, according to Muslim rites, was buried on Sunday in his farm at Mleghwa near Voi Town.

Immensely inspired by the Simba Wanyika brothers; Wilson and George Peter, Aziz immersed himself fully into rhumba and made his debut in the music scene in the early 1990s.

He would form his own band ‘Benga Africa Group in 1991 that through it, recorded hit songs; Sina Kazi,  Amri Kumi and Matata Sipendelei.

He later changed the name of the group to Ngoma Afrika, incorporating musicians from other African countries and performed at various entertainment spots in Nairobi including, Miami Tavern in Umoja Estate and Ranalo Foods on Kimathi Street.

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In his illustrious career, the prominent musician worked with legendary singer Mohamed Tika Abdallah, Congolese singers; Teddy Suka, Rama Kocha and John Monga and Kenyans -Patrick Omolo and Jose Beniko Bulimo.

Voi-based lawyer, music promoter and entertainment organiser Duncan Mwanyumba eulogised Aziz as a trailblazer among other Taita-Taveta County greats such as the late Habel Kifoto, Fadhili Williams, Sammy Mwambi Mkali, and twist legend Mathaia Mlkamaba.

He will be remembered for his contribution to the development of a Kenyan rhumba style and mostly singing in the national language, Kiswahili.