Hugh Masekela
Tributes pour in for a remarkable figure...

South African trumpeter and jazz legend Hugh Masekela has died.

Born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, South Africa, Hugh Masekela became enraptured with the trumpet after witnessing Kirk Douglas' performance in Young Man With A Horn.

Acquiring a trumpet through the aid of he anti-apartheid crusader Father Trevor Huddleston, he quickly took to the instrument, absorbing any sound he came across.

With his profile increasing Hugh Masekela came to international attention at the 60s dawned, but the increasing violent repression of the South African government led him to choose international exile.

First studying in London and then emigrating to the United States, Masekela came in contact with jazz great Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, who encouraged him to find his own style.

Huge crossover hits such as 'Grazing In The Grass' followed, while Hugh Masekela played on hits by the likes of The Byrds and Paul Simon.

Continuing to challenge himself musically while never shying away from the socially conscious role of his compositions, Hugh Maskela remained a hero in his native land.

Well-known anti-apartheid songs such as 'Soweto Blues' and 'Bring Him Back Home' - the latter written while Nelson Mandela was still imprisoned - stated his beliefs, giving his work a rare resonance.

Returning to South Africa after the fall of Apartheid, Hugh Masekela was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.

In a statement, his family confirmed that he died peacefully following a brace battle with the disease.

An icon in South Africa, his passing was mourned by President Zuma:

The nation mourns one its most recognizable signature talent in the person of Bra Hugh Masekela. It is an immeasurable loss to the music industry and to the country at large. His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family and peers in the arts and culture fraternity at large. May his soul rest in peace.

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