Legendary Hugh Masekela Has Died

Published 6 years ago

Legendary African jazz musician Hugh Masekela has died at the age of 78.

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

He had been battling cancer since 2008.


Masekela used his music as a political tool, often against apartheid in South Africa, with songs such as Stimela, Soweto Blues and Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela). 

Masekela first started playing the piano when he was five years old.

“I didn’t go into it for notoriety or fame. I just went into music because I love it,” he told FORBES LIFE AFRICA, when he was on the cover in 2014.

At the age of 14, he was given his first trumpet by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the late British anti-apartheid activist. Hugh began to develop his signature sound in the late 1950s, melding jazz with African influences.


His first album, Trumpet Africaine, was released in 1963. He went on to release more than 40 albums and performed with Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba.



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