Legendary South African artist Johnny Clegg has passed away at the age of 66 years after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Clegg died at his family home in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon.
Johnny Clegg, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015, was one of the most celebrated musicians in South Africa. He was musician and anthropologist who has recorded and performed with his bands Juluka and Savuka, and more recently as a solo act, occasionally reuniting with his earlier band partners.
He was also best known with songs that mix Zulu with English lyrics and African with various Western music styles.
Clegg’s manager Roddy Quin said in a statement on behalf the family that: “It is with immense sadness that we confirm that Jonathan (Johnny) Clegg, OBE OIS succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66 on the afternoon of 16 July 2019 at his family home in Johannesburg, South Africa,”
“Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers him/herself to be an African. He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity. An anthropologist that used his music to speak to every person. With his unique style of music he traversed cultural barriers like few others. In many of us he awakened awareness.”
Johnny Clegg is survived by his wife of 31 years, Jenny, and their two sons Jesse and Jaron.
“His passing has left us numb and we request that the family’s privacy be respected during this trying time. The family will be holding a private funeral service and we ask you to please respect the family’s wishes. There will be a service for public to pay their respects and the details hereof will be announced in due course,” Quin said.
Taking to Twitter to pay tribute to the legendary musician, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa wrote: “A towering giant has fallen with the passing of legendary Singer-songwriter & Anthropologist Johnny Clegg. Our hearts are sore & as he famously sang in Asimbonanga “oh the sea is cold & the sky is grey” as we contend with the loss of a torchbearer of our struggle for freedom (sic).”
SGC is devastated at the passing of Johnny Clegg. An music icon and a true South African. We shall miss him with all our hearts. Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/I9ZDPH6FqH
— Soweto Gospel Choir (@Sowetogospel) July 16, 2019
Image Courtesy: TheSouthAfrican.Com