Costa Titch, a rising star in South African rap, died this weekend after collapsing onstage at a music festival. He was 28.
Titch, whose legal name was Constantinos Tsobanoglou, was performing Saturday at Ultra South Africa in Johannesburg when he suddenly fell. Social media videos showed him briefly standing up before collapsing a second time.
“Death has tragically knocked at our door,” the Tsobanoglou family wrote Sunday in an Instagram post. “Robbing us of our beloved son, brother and grandson, Constantinos Tsobanoglou, who South Africa had some to love and idolize under the stage name ‘Costa Titch.’”
The family did not announce Titch’s cause of death.
Titch had recently signed a record deal with Senegalese-American artist and producer Akon, following the breakthrough success of his single “Big Flexa” across Africa. The song initially blew up on TikTok.
“Costa was a galvanizing voice amongst South Africa’s amapiano scene — a talented rapper, dancer, songwriter, collaborator, and friend to the festival,” Ultra South Africa said in a statement.
Born in the east South Africa city of Nelspruit, Titch entered the country’s pop culture scene as a dancer. But Titch’s true passion was making music and, later, performing it.
“I realized that my passion lay more within the artist than within the dance industry,” he said in a 2020 promotional interview. “It was never easy, especially when you’ve achieved a lot in one field.”
Titch initially struggled to gain mainstream musical success, but earned recognition in South Africa with his 2019 single “Nkalakatha,” which came after a series of, in his words, “wack drops.” Titch said collaboration was what changed the course of his career.
“I feel like a lot of artists are so focused on trying to do everything themselves,” he said in 2020. “They let their ego block the fact that with a bit of assistance, and more people’s ears listening to their music and being involved in the creative process, they could actually make their product go a lot further.”
One of Titch’s many collaborators was South African rapper AKA, who was fatally shot last month.
“The Tsobanoglou family thanks you for the love and support you have given to our son and may you continue to uplift him even in a spirit,” Titch’s family said Sunday.