It’s a sad sad day for the South African music industry today. Music legend, Hugh Masekela, has passed away at the age of 78. The legendary jazz musician has long been battling with prostate cancer and has reportedly been receiving treatment since 2008.

In a statement, Bra Hugh’s family confirmed the news we were dreading to hear. “After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa surrounded by his family,” the statement read.

Hugh’s cancer battle started back in 2008 when doctors discovered a small “speck” on his bladder. In March 2016, he underwent surgery after the cancer had spread to other parts of his body. Last year, another tumour was found after Hugh fell during a performance in Morocco. The musician then had emergency treatment in September to neutralise the tumour.

This prompted Hugh to cancel his appearance at the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival last November and all music commitments going forward. Unfortunately, things took a toll for the worst and Bra Hugh lost his battle – a decade after it started.

Bra Hugh fell in love with jazz at the age of 14 after watching the film ‘Young Man with a Horn’. The film inspired him to play the trumpet and by 1956, he joined the Alfred Herbet’s African Jazz Revue. His music was inspired by the Apartheid era and the turmoil and hardship the country experienced during that time. So, he used his talent to inspire political change and his music became a symbol of hope for many South Africans under the regime’s oppression during that time.

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