The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Stromae nearly committed suicide after taking malaria drug

16:38 13/11/2017

Famed Brussels hip-hop singer Stromae has been fighting complications caused by the use of an anti-malaria drug that he took two years ago. The 32-year-old told Le Soir that mefloquine, sold under the brand name Lariam, nearly led him to take his own life.

Stromae, whose given name is Paul Van Haver, took the drug ahead of and during his tour in Africa in 2015. He began suffering from insomnia, having hallucinations and to become confused. “I was already stressed and exhausted, but the medication made it so much worse,” he said.

He had to cancel the tour and head home, though no official reason for his illness was revealed until now. He said that his wife and his younger brother took care of him, and that he’s not sure what would have happened had they not been there.

“My brother was the first to realise that something wasn’t right,” he told the paper. “Without him during that period I would probably have committed suicide. I really mean that. If he hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Many others have reported experiencing serious psychotic episodes following the use of mefloquine, some of which have in fact ended in suicide. The drug remains in the systems for months after taking it.

Photo: Stromae and his wife, Coralie Barbier
(c)Stephan Vanfleteren

Written by Lisa Bradshaw