05 August 2009

Fans mourn the death of `Mbah' Surip

Phenomenal Indonesian reggae singer Urip Ariyanto, better known as Mbah (elder) Surip, died at 60 on Tuesday, just a few months after his sensational rise to fame.

Thousands of Indonesians mourned the death of the eccentric musician, while dignitaries and politicians offered their condolences.

Urip died of a suspected heart attack, according to a team of doctors treating him at Pusdikkes Hospital in East Jakarta.

One of the doctors, Satyaningtyas, was quoted by vivanews.com as saying they found an obstruction in his coronary tract, leading to "strong suspicion he had died from a heart attack".

Urip had died on his way to hospital, she said.

Before his death, Urip spent Monday night at the house of a friend, comedian Mamiek Prakosa, who said the singer had asked to stay a while at his house because he was tired and needed to rest.

"It is very crowded at my place," Mamiek quoted Urip as having said.

Mamiek said Urip looked very pale and he called a doctor in the evening, who said Urip was exhausted and was suffering from diarrhea.

A former street singer, Urip experienced a phenomenal rise to stardom in just months, with his single Tak Gendong (I will carry you on my back) becoming a hit.

Urip reportedly amassed a total of Rp 4.5 billion (US$450,000) in royalties from cellular phone providers, which have been selling Tak Gendong as a ringtone, and had recently signed a multibillion rupiah contract with several companies for advertising.

Along with his rising popularity, Urip had traveled across Indonesia for concerts. He was said to never sleep more than three hours a day, while maintaining a habit of smoking and drinking coffee heavily.

Urip was survived by four children and four grandchildren. His remains were to be buried in the West Java town of Depok on Tuesday night. Urip's sudden death triggered a massive reaction from thousands of fans. For example, just minutes after his death was confirmed, Indonesian Facebookers and Twitterers instantly updated their statuses stating condolences for the fallen musician.

Urip's death has also drawn the attention of dignitaries, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who dubbed the singer "a down-to-earth artist who dedicated his life to developing his art in his own way".

"I express my condolences, and hope God will accept his soul. May he rest in peace in accordance with the way he lived his life in this world," Yudhoyono said while addressing a media conference at the Presidential Palace.

Yudhoyono's rival, vice presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, also offered his condolences, saying he had known Urip and that the latter had made stage performances at one of his campaign rallies for the presidential election. (hdt).

The Jakarta Post

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