Legendary African musician Hugh Masekela has passed on this morning. Masekela has passed away after a protracted fight against prostate cancer.
Known for his impressive repertoire which featured hits such as Stimela. At 78, Masekela was still performing his jazz sets around the country. The award winning singer and saxophonist was born in the town of Witbank, South Africa in 1939, and has for years raised the flag of African music, further creating and defining .
News of Masekela’s passing was first reported on SA FM this morning. Masekela had cancelled several gigs last year due to his illness. He released a statement shedding more light on why.
“I have been in treatment for prostate cancer since 2008 when doctors discovered a small ‘speck’ on my bladder. The treatment seemed to be successful, but in March 2016 I had to undergo surgery as the cancer had spread,” he said.
“In April 2017, while in Morocco, I fell and sprained my shoulder. I began to feel an imbalance when I was walking and my left eye was troubling me. Another tumour was discovered and subsequently, in September 2017, I had emergency treatment and the tumour was neutralised.”
Masekela was presented with the highest order in South Africa: The Order of Ikhamanga, and 2011 saw Masekela receive a Lifetime Achievement award at the WOMEX World Music Expo in Copenhagen.
He was also honoured with a ‘Hugh Masekela Day’ in March 2011.