Legendary musician Bra Hugh Masekela has died at the age of 78.
His family issued a statement on Tuesday to confirm 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.
Even though Hugh Masekela was in and out of hospital after battling with prostate cancer for nine years, those close to him have been left shocked and heartbroken by his death.
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.
Bra 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, he 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.
Bra 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.
Masekela is survived by his wife, Elinam Cofie, whom he married in 1999 and for whom he penned the song “Ghana”, his daughter, Pula Twala, and his son, Selema “Sal” Masekela, from his relationship with Haitian Jessie Marie Lapierre.