Quebec Singer-Songwriter Karim Ouellet Dies at 37

The francophone artist won a 2014 Juno Award for his album 'Fox'
Quebec Singer-Songwriter Karim Ouellet Dies at 37
Photo via karim_ouellet on Instagram
Senegal-born, Quebec City-based singer-songwriter Karim Ouellet has died. He was 37 years old.

On Monday night (January 17), police found Ouellet's body in the Place Unisson studio complex in the city's central Limoilou borough [via Montreal Gazette]. His cause of death remains under investigation by the Quebec coroner's office.

Born in Dekar, Senegal, Ouellet was adopted by Canadian diplomats and lived in France, Rwanda and Tunisia before he and his family returned to Quebec City when he was 15 years old. At this point, the multi-instrumentalist took up electric guitar and started playing with local bands.
Ouellet released his first album Plume in 2011 and finished in second place in that year's Francouvertes competition. He followed it up with second offering Fox in 2012 and Trente (as well as free mini-album Aikido) in 2016, but he first made a name for himself back in 2007 as part of the Mauvaise Herbe collective.

The artist is perhaps best known for jubilant Fox single "L'amour," which earned him one of three Félix Award nominations. Ouellet also took home the Francophone Album of the Year Juno Award in 2014 for his sophomore record. The versatile musician was also a frequent collaborator of hip-hop groups like CEA and Movèzerbe. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted his condolences — as did Quebec premier François Legault, who said Ouellet brought a new style of music to Quebec with his reggae-tinged folk-pop arrangements. 

Ouellet's sister and Quebec rapper Sarahmée posted a tribute to her brother on her Facebook page, writing:

It's with profound sadness that we, the family, announce the death of our dear Karim; a son, a brother, a friend and an exceptional musician.

Karim left his mark on our hearts forever, and we will continue to celebrate his life, his talent and his heritage.

We ask the media and journalists to respect the privacy of the family and of Karim at this difficult time.

And thank you for this torrent of love for Karim, to those who have been touched by his words and his melodies, keep playing his music.