Zimbabwean veteran musician Oliver Mtukudzi dies at 66

Zimbabwean media has reported that musician Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi died today at the age of 66.

Tuku reportedly died at Avenues Clinic in the capital Harare. News about Tuku’s death began surfacing on social media in the afternoon with music fans sending their condolences on social media.

No official statement from the family has been made but many close to us have confirmed that the ‘Neria’ hitmaker had indeed died.

Mtukudzi's dear friend and collaborator Hugh Masekela died on the same day last year. The two legends last worked together on the No Borders album, which was Masekela's final offering before his death due to cancer.

Tuku had been ill for some time, according to local reports. The musician suffered heart failure and had to miss the London Jazz Festival in November. He also failed to attend Sunday's ZBC Coca-Cola Top 50 winners’ prize giving ceremony held at a Harare hotel, where the artist was honoured in absentia with the Veteran Musician Honorary Award.

“I have it on good authority that Dr Oliver 'Tuku' Mtukudzi is no more,” independent MP for Norton, where Tuku lived, Themba Mliswa, wrote on Twitter. “We’ve lost an icon and my heartfelt condolences to Daisy [Mtukudzi's  wife] and family. I’m writing to the president to apply for a national hero status for his national contribution to the music, arts and culture industry.”

Veteran journalist Brezh Malaba wrote: “A legend. Thank you for the music, the effortless idiom, the enchanting rhythms and the remarkable artistry.”

Germany-based journalist Plot Mhako wrote to Music In Africa: “It’s a very dark day. My heart is heavy. Our superstar and legend Oliver Mtukudzi is gone. The world is at a loss. Music will not be the same without your voice. You inspired humankind to imagine, love and be tolerant. His legacy will forever live and speak to generations to come.”

Mtukudzi released 67 albums during an illustrious career of more than four decades.

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