Hugh Masekela dies aged 78

The South African jazz trumpeter was battling prostate cancer

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South African jazz trumpeter and prominent anti-apartheid campaigner Hugh Masekela has died aged 78.

He passed away peacefully in Johannesburg after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Masekela rose to global prominence in the late 60s with the hits “Up, Up And Away” and “Grazing In The Grass”, performing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and guesting with The Byrds and Paul Simon.


Written during a long period of exile from his homeland, his 1977 song “Soweto Blues” (sung by his former wife Miriam Makeba) became an anthem of the struggle against apartheid, as did 1987’s “Bring Him Back Home”, written for Nelson Mandela.

Masekela was hailed by current South African President Jacob Zuma, who said: “His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten.”

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