VETERAN highlife singer, Victor Olaiya has passed on, aged 89.
According to an associate of the late music maestro and owner of Premiere Music label that holds his music repertoire, Michael Odiong, his death occurred yesterday at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
Odion further explained that Baby Jowo (as Olaiya is also known in Nigerian music circles) breathed his last around afternoon.
A statement by Managing Director of Evergreen Music Company, Bimbo Esho also confirmed Olaiya’s death, describing him as irreplaceable on the highlife beat.
“The entire music world wishes to announce the death of a Legend of Highlife music, one of the last men standing, the last of the originals, Dr. Victor Abimbola Olaiya (OON).
We pray that the soul of the doyen of highlife music find repose with his creator while wishing the family and entire music community the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss,” Esho said.
Chief Olaiya, one of the few surviving highlife legends whose stardom predates Nigeria’s independence, had many numbers he sang in his native Yoruba, Igbo, Kalabari and Ibibio. His facility and rallying point, Stadium Hotel, Surulere Lagos has remained a highlife hub for over half a century.