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The Legendary Hugh Masekela Dead At Age 78
The music community lost a master craftsman today as South African jazz icon Hugh Masekela succumbed to prostate cancer after many years of fighting.
According to NPR, the Masekela family released a sorrow-filled statement about their beloved:
“[Our] hearts beat with profound loss,” the Masekela family said in a statement. “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 6 continents …”
Masekela was a trumpeter, vocalist, band conductor and credits his anti-apartheid activist father for his extraordinary life path.
He was given his first trumpet by anti-apartheid crusader Father Trevor Huddleston at age 14.
“I was always in trouble with the authorities in school,” he told NPR in 2004.
He had been inspired by the Kirk Douglas film Young Man with a Horn. Huddleston, hoping to steer him away from delinquency, asked what it was that would make Masekela happy. “I said, ‘Father, if you can get me a trumpet I won’t bother anybody anymore.'”
Rest in peace, Mr. Masekela.