After traveling to France for a family celebration in early March, Marcel Botbol was stuck there as the coronavirus made its way through Europe. With existing heart problems and after a valiant battle with COVID-19, Botbol passed away on April 1, a week before Passover.

Botbol was born in Fez in 1945 to a musical Jewish family. His father, Jacob (Abitbol), was a famous concert singer, conducting his first orchestral performance at age 19.

A violinist, Marcel followed the path blazed for him, also becoming a renowned singer and actor in Morocco. Together with his brothers Haim, who played percussion, and Claude, a singer, he rose to prominence with his twists of the Algerian Gharnati musical styles and popular Moroccan tunes, enjoying a long and successful career in the spotlight.

Botbol traveled the world over, often with other musical artists, particularly performing in French venues like Paris and Montreal.

King Mohammed VI sent a message to the bereaved family and Jewish community, expressing his “heartfelt condolences and sincere feelings of compassion following the loss of a pioneering and talented artist who enriched the Moroccan artistic landscape with his distinguished musical creations inspired by the Moroccan-Jewish legacy, praying the Almighty grant them patience and comfort.”

An online comment to an obit in Morocco World News said, “He and his family gave us so much joy through music.”

He is survived by his brother, Haim.

Readers are invited to express their condolences or memories of the departed in the Reader Comments box that follows this article.

To provide additional information for this article, or to submit the names and information about other Jewish victims of the coronavirus, please use this form.