Father of South African jazz Hugh Masekela bows out

The jazz trumpeter was 78 years old.

His family released a statement saying, "...The family of Ramapolo Hugh Masekela announce his passing. After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family."

Masekela was known for his struggle to end apartheid in South Africa and his afro jazz hits such as Soweto Blues which he even performed with the late Miriam Makeba in 1988 at the Wembley Stadium in the UK.

The song was originally released in 1977 and was an accompaniment to the anti-apartheid movement.

Masekela was born in Witbank, South Africa in 1939.

He began singing and playing the piano as a child and at age 14, inspired by Kirk Douglas playing Bix Beiderbecke in the 1950 film Young Man with a Horn, he took up the trumpet.

Considered the father of South African jazz, Masekela was given his first trumpet by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston who was an anti-apartheid chaplain at his high school.

According to BBC Africa, Masekela made Huddleston buy him the trumpet in return for good behavior.

He was exiled from South Africa in 1960 and was then tutored by jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie who encouraged him to play by his own style.

Hugh Masekela - Africa Festival 2016

Masekela returned to South Africa in 1990 following the release of Nelson Mandela, whose freedom he advocated for in his 1986 song Bring Home Nelson Mandela.

The two time grammy award nominee also performed at the Safaricom Jazz festival of August 2016.

The trumpeter, flugelhorn player, singer, composer and activist had been battling prostate cancer for ten years and after the courageous battle, he finally bowed out.

Masekela was 78 years old.

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