Legendary jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela passed away on Monday from complications related to prostate cancer. He was 78.
The South African musician, who was a leading activist in the struggle to end apartheid, died “peacefully” in his Johannesburg home on Tuesday, his family told the BBC in a statement.
Masekela, who was known as the father of South African jazz, earned worldwide fame for hits such as his protest songs “Soweto Blues” and “Bring Him Back Home”, which became an anthem for those protesting Nelson Mandela imprisonment.
Masekela also had a number one hit on the Billboard charts with his 1968 track “Grazing in the Grass”. Over his storied career, the jazz legend worked with musicians such as The Byrds and Paul Simon, with whom he toured to support the album Graceland.
In a statement, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said Masekela’s death was “an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large. His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family and peers in the arts and culture fraternity at large. May his soul rest in peace.”
Apartheid, which segregated black and white South Africans, came to an end in 1991, with Mandela elected as the country’s first black president in 1994.
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