A 28-year-old South African rapper died, his family confirmed Sunday, after unverified videos circulating online showed him collapsing twice while performing onstage at a music festival.
“Death has tragically knocked at our door. Robbing us of our beloved son, brother and grandson,” read the statement, which was unsigned and posted to Costa Titch’s Instagram account. The statement went on to thank “emergency responders and all those present in his last hours on this earth.”
Videos posted on social media appeared to show Costa Titch slumping forward while performing. In one, an unidentified man onstage catches him and helps him up, after which the rapper continues his performance. But a few seconds later, he appears to collapse again.
The videos could not be independently verified. Costa Titch was scheduled to perform Saturday night at the Ultra Music Festival in Nasrec, a suburb of Johannesburg. Festival organizers said in a statement on Twitter that they were “devastated” by the artist’s death, calling him “a talented rapper, dancer, songwriter, collaborator, and friend to the festival.” They did not provide information about how he died and could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Online, fans and fellow artists expressed sadness and dismay over the news of the rapper’s death. “RIP Costa Titch. Great talent gone too soon,” tweeted the South African and American artist Leslie Jonathan Mampe Jr., who goes by Da L.E.S.
The Southern African Music Rights Organization, a copyright group that represents artists in the country, offered “heartfelt condolences” to Costa Titch’s family.
SAMRO is saddened by the passing of popular rapper Costa Tsobanoglou, better known as Costa Titch.— SAMRO (@SAMROMusic) March 12, 2023
Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and broader music industry. #RIPCostaTitch pic.twitter.com/qeXOcAxxFs
It was the second high-profile death in South Africa’s dynamic rap scene in just a few weeks. Kiernan Forbes, 35, who went by the stage name AKA, died last month after he was shot outside a restaurant in Durban, on the country’s southeastern coast. AKA and Costa Titch released an album together in 2021.