Indonesians mourn rising reggae star Mbah Surip

Wed Aug 5, 2009 5:45am EDT
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JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - Indonesians paid tribute on Wednesday to dreadlocked reggae star Mbah Surip who died at the age of 60 just a few months after the eccentric former street singer shot to fame in the Southeast Asian country.

Mbah Surip, whose real name was Urip Ariyanto, died in hospital on Tuesday after suffering a suspected heart attack, doctors told local media.

He was buried late on Tuesday, after his third daughter exchanged her wedding vows in front of his dead body.

Surip had more than 300,000 fans on the social networking site Facebook although reggae only enjoys a niche following in Indonesia and thousands of his fans flooded his Facebook page with prayers and condolences after his death.

Surip managed to reach a wider audience with his simple but entertaining songs and his catchy laugh and tagline "I love you full."

His big hit was reggae song "Tak Gendong" (I will carry you on my back) which became a popular ringtone for mobile phones in Indonesia in recent months, catapulting him to stardom.

Before turning to singing fulltime, he had tried his hand in the mining business and also lived abroad for a time, according to state news agency Antara.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was among those to express his condolences over the death of the singer who came from Mojokerto in East Java. He is survived by four children and four grandchildren.

"I hope the music community and local administration will help in giving him a worthy burial," Yudhoyono was quoted by Antara.

(Reporting by Ed Davies and Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Sugita Katyal)