Legendary musician Bra Hugh Masekela has died, the father of South African jazz who had career spanning more than five decades and a leading figure in the struggle to end apartheid.
Bra Hugh’s family sent a statement confirming the news to the media. “After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa surrounded by his family,” read the statement.
Masekela had been suffering from prostate cancer for almost a decade. He last performed in 2010 in Johannesburg when he gave two concerts that were seen as an “epitaph” to his long career.
Masekela learned to play the trumpet at age 14 and gained fame for his bright, lively playing. He went into exile after the 1960 Sharpeville killings in which 69 protesters were shot dead.
He gained international recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hits such as "Soweto Blues", which served as one of the sound-tracks to the anti-apartheid movement.
In 1968 he scored an international hit with "Grazing in the Grass."
The Queen shakes hands with Hugh Masekela during Nelson Mandela's state visit to Britain in 1996
South African President Jacob Zuma said the nation would mourn a man who "kept the torch of freedom alive".
"It is an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large. His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten," Zuma said in a statement.