HARARE – Music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi has died aged 66.
Mtukudzi died at Harare’s Avenues Clinic on Wednesday afternoon after reportedly falling ill over the last month.
Easily the most successful musician in Zimbabwean history, Mtukudzi’s career spanning five decades saw him release over 60 albums.
Musicians and fans have been paying tribute to the star, famed for such hits as Tozeza, Neria and Bvuma.
Jamaican reggae group Morgan Heritage said on Twitter: “We were privileged to share the stage with the great Tuku and have the honour of meeting him in person. He was a giant of a musician and so humble at the same time. We pray the legacy of this great musician lives on forever. Our prayers go out to the family of Oliver Mtukudzi #RIP.”
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry said via Twitter: “You may have gone but your light will shine forever. Goodbye my friend. #RIPOliverMtukudzi.”
Fan and MDC lawmaker Tendai Biti said Mtukudzi’s music “conquered generations.”
“The passing on of Oliver Mtukudzi at such a young age is sad and tragic. He truly was an amazing maestro whose music conquered generations. Will always cherish the many memories shared over the years. But as he would say ‘pangu pese ndasukura ndapedza – Zvimwe hazvibvunzwe izvi’,” Biti said on Twitter.
Nicknamed Tuku, Mtukudzi won several international awards, many of them in neighbouring South Africa.
Herman Mashaba, the mayor of Johannesburg, said Mtukudzi’s music gave the world hope.
“I am saddened to learn about the passing of a legendary musician, Oliver Mtukudzi. Your musical talent gave us hope when we most needed it. Deepest condolences to the family. May your soul rest in eternal peace,” Mashaba tweeted.
South African companies Telkom, Dstv and MTV Base South Africa also sent out tributes.
Mtukudzi is survived by his wife, Daisy, and four children. His only son, Sam, died in a car accident in March 2010.