SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning - Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Hugh Masekela, South African jazz legend, dies at age 78

Legendary South African musician Hugh Masekela died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, the South African gov...

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 8:31 AM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 8:31 AM

Legendary South African musician Hugh Masekela died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, the South African government announced on its official Twitter page. He was 78.

Known as the father of South African jazz, the trumpet master channeled the struggle against apartheid into soulful compositions that championed the experiences of ordinary South Africans.

Masekela's 1986 "Bring Him Back Home" song, written for Nelson Mandela, became an anthem of the 1980s anti-apartheid movement. The Grammy-nominated artist toured with Paul Simon and was a major player on the jazz and world music scene for decades.

"A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss," the family said in a statement released by his agents Dreamcatcher.

"Hugh's global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre, and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memory of millions across six continents and we are blessed and grateful to be part of a life and ever-expanding legacy of love, sharing and vanguard creativity that spans the time and space of six decades. Rest in power beloved, you are forever in our hearts," the statement said.

Also known affectionately in South Africa as Bra Hugh, Masekela was born in the town of Witbank in 1939. At the age of 14, he was given his first trumpet by the respected anti-apartheid campaigner Father Trevor Huddleston.

In 1960, at the age of 21, Masekela left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth. On arrival in New York he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music.

He immersed himself in the New York jazz scene, watching jazz greats such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

According to his official biography, fellow jazz trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong encouraged Masekela to develop his own unique style, feeding off African rather than American influences. Masekela's debut album, released in 1963, was entitled Trumpet Africaine.

In the late 1960s, in the heat of the "Summer of Love," Masekela moved to Los Angeles, where he fell in with hippie icons like David Crosby, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

During this period he performed alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, his instrumental single 'Grazin' in the Grass' went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the international stage.

His subsequent solo career spanned 5 decades, during which time he released over 40 albums and worked with a range of artists including Nigeria's Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and his former wife, the late Miriam Makeba.

In 1990 Masekela returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Mandela.

Masekela's team released a statement in October saying he had been battling cancer since 2008 that spread to other parts of his body, according to the South African newspaper the Sowetan.

"A baobab tree has fallen, the nation has lost a one of a kind musician with the passing of Jazz legend bra Hugh Masekela," wrote the South African Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, in a tweet. "We can safely say bra Hugh was one of the great architects of Afro-Jazz and he uplifted the soul of our nation through his timeless music."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 41739

Reported Deaths: 653
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9055160
Marion5733108
Washington568175
Umatilla334444
Clackamas308165
Lane232627
Malheur190938
Jackson16506
Deschutes111013
Yamhill98515
Linn79815
Polk64815
Jefferson6039
Morrow5436
Lincoln51513
Union4652
Benton4366
Klamath4083
Wasco34715
Douglas3455
Hood River2771
Josephine2633
Columbia2561
Clatsop2410
Coos2360
Baker1143
Crook1032
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa422
Lake340
Harney230
Sherman180
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 903684

Reported Deaths: 17343
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2989376989
Riverside657571279
San Bernardino623531072
Orange583261444
San Diego54314868
Kern33775416
Fresno30590436
Sacramento25264484
Santa Clara24014388
Alameda23215460
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18523241
Stanislaus17572396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14192164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12069140
Monterey1132189
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9760120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9163134
Kings821883
Solano728674
Marin7057128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer408857
Yolo316658
Butte305952
Santa Cruz277125
Napa194215
Shasta184630
Sutter183712
San Benito143615
El Dorado13154
Yuba129310
Mendocino112421
Tehama8628
Lassen7661
Lake68915
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32416
Tuolumne2684
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Del Norte1781
Mono1782
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 33°
Brookings
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 58°
Crater Lake
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 19°
Grants Pass
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Klamath Falls
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 19°
Critical fire danger today
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events