Legendary musician Hugh Masekela has died. Hugh’s family issued a statement confirming the news.
“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.
The statement explained that the jazz veteran underwent eye surgery in March 2016 after the cancer spread, and had to go into theatre again in September 2016 after another tumour was discovered.
In December, Masakela’s manager, Josh Georgiou, told TshisaLIVE that his client was fighting the disease with everything he had.
Hugh was born in KwaGuqa township in Witbank and began singing and playing the piano as a child.
After seeing the film Young Man with a Horn when he was 14, Masekela began playing the trumpet. His first trumpet was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, an anti-apartheid chaplain at St Peter’s Secondary School.
He soon mastered the instrument and by 1956 joined Alfred Herbet’s African Jazz Revue.
Hugh’s music was inspired by the turmoil that South Africa went through during apartheid and he said it was used as a weapon to spread political change.