In this picture taken on June 27, 2010, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen performs at Glastonbury festival [File: Leon Neal/AFP]

Nigerian drummer and composer Tony Allen, who worked closely with musician Fela Kuti as a pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, has died in Paris.

He was 79.

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The Afrobeat sound, which rose to prominence in Nigeria in the 1970s, combined organ riffs with West African drum patterns and brass instruments.

Allen’s drumming was a key part of the rhythmic structure that underpinned the fusion of jazz, funk and West African melodies.

Allen died on Wednesday evening in Paris of a heart attack, National Public Radio (NPR) cited his manager Eric Trosset as saying on Thursday.

He lived in the Paris suburb Courbevoie.

“Farewell Tony! Your eyes saw

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