Legendary South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela has died at the age of 78 in Johannesburg. According to his family, Masekela “passed peacefully” after a long battle with prostate cancer. Masekela’s last two concerts in 2010 were viewed by many as an “epitaph” to his five-decade career.
Hugh Masekela has been described as the “father of South African jazz.” He was known for his jazz compositions and for writing well-known anti-apartheid songs such as “Soweto Blues” and “Bring Him Back Home”. He also had a number 1 pop hit with his version of “Grazing in the Grass” in 1968.
Hugh Masekela was a headliner at Ottawa Jazzfest in 2011. Earlier today on Facebook, Ottawa Jazzfest posted this comment about his passing; “It is with a heavy heart that today we say goodbye to the legendary Hugh Masekela. You will truly be missed. We thank you for sharing your gift with the folks here in Ottawa and around the world. You’re an inspiration and we thank you for all that you’ve done in this lifetime. Rest In Power.”