Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Family and friends pay tribute to popular Dubai radio DJ

James Aramouni, 27, died of a heart attack in Beirut on January 13

James Aramouni's father said his family had been overwhelmed by the support of his son's friends. Pawan Singh / The National
James Aramouni's father said his family had been overwhelmed by the support of his son's friends. Pawan Singh / The National

Family and friends paid tribute to a popular radio DJ on Tuesday, retelling stories of his love of music and remembering his quick sense of humour.

James Aramouni, 27, a radio presenter with Dubai’s Dance FM, died of a heart attack in Beirut on January 13.

Speaking at his memorial service at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dubai, Mr Aramouni’s father, Eli, said the family had been overwhelmed by the support of his son’s friends.

He and James’ sister, Maya, had travelled to Dubai from their home in California.

“He was very tired after a two-week vacation in Johannesburg,” said Mr Aramouni.

“He had returned to Dubai and then went to visit his mother in Lebanon when he died.

“We knew he had family in Beirut and in California but we did not realise he had family in Dubai.”

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Read more:

Tributes as Dubai radio presenter dies suddenly aged 27

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James, a Lebanese-American, moved to the UAE a little over a year ago after leaving Beirut in October 2017.

At his service, friends recited the lyrics of his favourite hip hop songs while his sister recalled the childhood pranks her brother played on her growing up.

“One of the things that stands out about his personality was how funny he was,” she said.

“He loved impersonations and loved making fun of the awkward differences between our Lebanese and American cultures.

“His true passion was always entertainment, particularly music. He would often break into rap when we were in mid-conversation.

“This is a terrible loss and I’m just beginning to digest it. But my memories are of him being vibrant, funny and clever.”

Family and friends gathered at St Mary’s Church in Dubai for the DJ's memorial service. Pawan Singh / The National
Family and friends gathered at St Mary’s Church in Dubai for the DJ's memorial service. Pawan Singh / The National

Jake Gray, a colleague at Shock Middle East radio network, described how they would both sing out loud while walking down Dubai’s streets.

He revealed that over the summer last year, James had a tattoo done of lyrics of a song by the rapper Drake.

The lines “May your neighbours respect you/Trouble neglect you/Angels protect you/And heaven accept you”, are from Drake’s hit ‘Shot for Me.’

Mr Gray said it was only after his friend’s death that he realised how much those words had meant to his fellow DJ.

“James touched all of us,” he said. “He saw to it that none of us ever got into any trouble. He made everyone around him feel happy and protected.”

Dance FM suspended its live shows for two days following James’ death. The DJ presented the station’s Drive Time show.

Updated: January 23, 2019 11:22 AM

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