'Disabled disco innovator' Cola Boyy dies at 34

 March 19, 2024

The California-based singer Cola Boyy has died at the age of 34.

The Oxnard, California native, whose real name was Matthew Urango, overcame deformities in the spine to develop a cult following with his funky, disco-inspired sound.

His fans included famed psychedelic rockers MGMT and the legendary electronic group The Avalanches.

"Disabled disco innovator" dies

Urango's label, Record Makers, confirmed the tragic news of his death in a post on X.

"He was quite a soul, a man with no age, a childlike spirit with the musicality of an old legend,' Urango's label Record Maker's said in its statement. 'His lyrics, his melodies, the sound of his voice: every side of his music was unique and timeless…"

"We loved him at Record Makers. We are sending all possible love to Matthew’s family and to his numerous friends. His music and power will remain," the post said.

Urango made a name for himself with the 2018 EP Black Boogie Neon, which grabbed the attention of MGMT and Nicolas Godin, of the French duo Air.

His 2021 debut album Prosthetic Boombox featured collaborations with The Avalanches, MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden, Nicolas Godin, and others.

Proud father shares touching tribute

The musician was born with spina bifidia, scoliosis and kyphosis. His father Joseph Urango shared a touching tribute on Facebook.

"Words cannot express the sadness and pain in my heart. Matthew lived his life on his own terms all of his life. Matthew traveled the word performing in so many countries. Cola Boyy’s music is heard all around the world. I’ve attended a few of his performances and as his father felt such deep pride in his accomplishments," Joseph Urango wrote.

Matthew Urango's manager, Jack Sills, said the "larger than life" singer had just finished his next album, which Sills promised to release.

The Avalanches, who featured Urango on their 2020 album We Will Always Love You, called Urango "the most effervescent, hilarious, talented & passionate guy you could ever meet" and "a man of his conviction and his word."

The electro-funk duo Chromeo wrote, "We love you and your music, funky friend."

Beyond music, Urango was an advocate for people with disabilities and left-wing causes through groups like Todo Poder Al Pueblo and APOC (Anarchist People Of Color).

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