South African rapper Costa Titch dies after video surfaces of him collapsing on stage

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) South African rapper Costa Titch died suddenly over the weekend, his family said on Instagram, hours after performing at a music festival.

The musician, whose real name is Constantinos Tsobanoglou, was 28.

Footage circulating on social media appeared to show Tsobanoglou falling over on stage before being picked up by someone next to him. Tsobanoglou then stands up for several seconds before apparently collapsing.

“It is with deep pain that we have to acknowledge his passing at this time,” Tsobanoglou’s family said in a post on its Instagram. “We are grateful to these first responders and all those present during his final hours.”

The statement did not list a cause of death.

The festival where he performed, Ultra South Africa, said it was “devastated” by the young rapper’s death.

“Costa was a galvanizing voice among South Africa’s amapiano scene – a talented rapper, dancer, singer, songwriter, collaborator and friend to the festival,” the statement read.

Tsobanoglou was a rising sensation in South Africa and one of the biggest stars of amapiano, a style of music characterized by deep house, log-drum-driven bass lines and soulful piano melodies. His rap style combines South Africa’s culture, style and indigenous language with international rap sub-genres such as trap music, which originated in Atlanta’s thriving hip-hop scene.

Tsobanoglou was born in Nelspruit in north-eastern South Africa and had already had a successful career in dance before becoming a rapper.

Tsobanoglou’s song “Big Flexa” made him a star across Africa after it became a hit on TikTok. The rapper had recently partnered with a music label started by Senegalese-American musician Akon, who featured on a remix of “Big Flexa.”

Tsobanoglou’s death comes a month after his friend and collaborator, rapper AKA, was killed in a shooting.

CNN’s Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report

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