Jimmy O, a well-known singer and songwriter in Haiti who also was active in hip-hop artist and philanthropist Wyclef Jean’s organization Yele Haiti, has died. Jimmy O, 35, was crushed in a vehicle during the 7.0-magnitude earthquake, apparently while he was driving in downtown Port-au-Prince. CNN was on the scene when his body was discovered Friday. A man examined the body and pulled from one of the victim’s pants pocket the artist’s passport. CNN saw the document, which verified the man was Jimmy O, whose legal name was Jean Jimmy Alexandre. Jimmy O’s family and agent, who were on the scene, also verified his identity. “His loss will be tremendous in Haiti,” said the agent, Henry Robert Dominique. Dominique said Jimmy O helped run Yele Haiti, a grass-roots charitable organization established by Jean in 2005. And as a musician, Jimmy O helped develop new talent and artists in the impoverished nation, Dominique said.
Jimmy O’s mother, wife and two of his three children wept at the scene. They were joined by a crowd that had gathered, also struck by emotion over the loss of Jimmy O. Yele Haiti’s goal has been to restore pride and hope to the Haitian people through projects that will allow citizens to ultimately help themselves, such as the creation of scholarships, support for the arts, food distribution and emergency relief. The organization served the poorest of the poor in Haiti, Dominique told CNN. In its first year, it provided scholarships to more than 3,600 children. Within 72 hours of the earthquake, Jean had mobilized on social networking sites to raise money for relief aid.