Hugh Masekela, a legendary jazz trumpeter known as the ‘father of South African jazz’, has died at the age of 78.


His family said he died in Johannesburg after a protracted and “courageous battle with prostate cancer”.

Masakela, a trumpeter, composer and singer, had been battling prostate cancer since 2008.

“After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family,” read the statement.


The jazz veteran underwent eye surgery in March 2016 after the cancer spread, and again in September 2016 after another tumour was discovered.

Masekela is known for iconic hits such as ‘Soweto Blues’, ‘Bring Home Nelson Mandela’ and ‘Grazing in the Grass’.

He left South Africa in 1961 for a 30-year in exile during the apartheid in the country.


Masakela returned to his country in 1990 after the release of Nelson Mandela.

Legends, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, helped him develop his Afro-jazz sound during his time in exile.

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