JOHANNESBURG: In a statement, his family said he had “passed peacefully” in Johannesburg “after a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer”. “After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family,” read the statement. The musician’s team released a statement in October saying he had been battling prostate cancer since 2008.
Masekela gained global recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hits such as Grazin in the Grass which sold over 8 million copies and Soweto Blues. The 1977 Soweto Blues became synonymous with the anti-apartheid movement. Masekela’s 1986 “Bring Him Back Home” song was written for Nelson Mandela, and became an anthem of the 1980s anti-apartheid movement.
Masekela was a Grammy-nominated artist and a major player in the world music scene for years. In a statement, South African President Jacob Zuma said (Masekela’s) “His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten.”
Masekela’s 1986 “Bring Him Back Home” song, written for Nelson Mandela, became an anthem of the 1980s anti-apartheid movement. The Grammy-nominated artist toured with Paul Simon and was a major player on the jazz and world music scene for decades.
A statement released by his agents Dreamcatcher on behalf of the family read,”A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss,”
“Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre, and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memory of millions across six continents and we are blessed and grateful to be part of a life and ever-expanding legacy of love, sharing and vanguard creativity that spans the time and space of six decades. Rest in power beloved, you are forever in our hearts,” the statement said.