Fatai Olarenwaju Olagunju, the highlife maestro popularly known as Fatai Rolling Dollar, died on Wednesday morning after suffering respiratory illness for a short while, reports have said.
The star was 86 when he died at the Marittol hospital in Surulere. He was admitted two weeks ago to the Ahmadiya Hospital but later transferred to a different institution where he died.
The “Won Kere Si” singer will be missed by many.
His death was mourned by some of his associates, including CEO of Jazzhole Records, Mr Kunle Tejuosho, who produced the artiste’s most successful alb, “Won Kere Si Number Wa” upon his return to the music industry.
Tejuosho said, “Baba was a great musician. He lived a life of music. He was always ready to perform.”
“Ready to perform” is indeed how we remember the late great musician. Pilot Africa interviewed the singer last year in June. His guitar was never too far away from him. It was dusty, but not from lack of use.
He strummed it with pride as he serenaded the camera with his hit song, “Won Kere Si Number Wa”.
It was a point of pride for him to be one of the oldest living musicians and he wasn’t about to be relegated to the status of a relic.
Fatai had plans for new albums and was interested in collaborating with new singers from different styles.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State remembered Fatai as a “force to reckon with in highlife music and he would stand tall in the nation’s music hall of fam and be counted among musical genius like Cardinal Rex Lawson, Bobby Benson, Adeolu Akinsanya among others.”
The talented artist lived a full life, complete with the love of many women and several children, but he died perhaps with one unfulfilled dream – to build a school of music for upcoming acts.
It was something Fatai had hoped to do before his demise. He had 86 long years, but we daresay if given 86 more, Fatai would have filled each one of them with his tireless energy.