Legendary Zimbabwean Jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi has died at the age of 66.
The iconic musician, who had released 58 albums, died at Avenues Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwean newspaper Masvingo Mirror, which was the first to break the news on Twitter reported.
The news were later confirmed by his record label, Gallo Record Company.
Mtukudzi, nicknamed Tuku, had been struggling with his health for over a month, according to South Africa’s Citizen newspaper. The family is yet to issue a statement.
He is surivived by four children and two grandchildren. Another son, also a musician, passed on in 2010.
The renowned African musician died a year to the day after that of his close friend, Jazz legend Hugh Masekela. Oliver had called Masekela a ‘mentor’ and a ‘brother’ in his tribute to the Jazz musician last year.
Mtukudzi is also a philanthropist, human rights activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the Southern Africa region.
His fans have taken to social media to mourn him.
“OLIVER MTUKUZI…he of the Todii fame is dead. It is not just a loss to Zimbabwe but Africa as a whole as the legendary musician takes a bow at only 66years of age. REST IN PEACE TUKU. You made us all a happy lot while you lasted. Fare thee well my big bro,” veteran media personality Fred Obachi Machoka wrote on his Facebook page.
Journalist Rachel Musyoka narrated how she was moved with his music when she attended a live concert in Zimbabwe in 2014 with friends.
“That was the first and only Oliver Mtukudzi’s live concert I attended. We danced our hearts out. He gave hope through his music. He was vibrant. Many of us found healing through your music.
Rest In Peace Tuku,” she wrote on Facebook.
“Go rest in Peace Oliver Mtukudzi. You were electrifying. I particular remember my first encounter with you in New York City with the hit song ‘Todi’. and fell in love with you. You traversed the world with your lyrics and you were loved beyond races. Go rest..?,” Nominated MP Dennitah Ghati wrote.
“Oliver Mtukudzi was a towering giant in African music field. Today, we can cut the rug to likes of Hodari, Moyo Mashine et al because of the comfort platform put in place by Oliver and others. At a time when the silhouette of Zimbabwe was dominated by long serving Robert Mugabe, Tuku, arguably, became the country’s icon of hope and demonstrated that when all else fails, music galvanizes people,” Mukurima Muriuki wrote.
“My all time favorite Tuku song has to be his collabo with Eric Wainaina “Twende Twende.” With the guitar strapped on Oliver’s shoulder and a timbre second to none, we hear this line in the song: “ukiulizwa, hata mimi ninaskia uchungu….ukihangaishwa, ninalia ukilia dada…” (When you are in trouble, it concerns me),” he added.