Jazz star Sibongile Khumalo has died, close friends confirm

Sibongile Khumalo has died at the age of 63.
Sibongile Khumalo has died at the age of 63.
Image: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Jazz veteran Sibongile Khumalo has died at the age of 63, reliable sources close to the situation confirmed to TshisaLIVE on Thursday evening. 

Details surrounding Sibongile's death were still unknown as an official statement from her family is pending. 

A close friend told TshisaLIVE he was still trying to make sense of the news and was devastated. 

He asked not to be named as he preferred that an official statement first be made by the star's family. 

Two other independent sources also declined to comment officially, citing the same reason. 

The friend asked that the family be given the space to handle things their way. 

Khumalo made a profound impact on SA and the world during her career. Before her illustrious discography and accolades, the Sowetan-born star had her beginnings as a music teacher who dreamt of becoming an opera singer.

Her decades-long singing career touched the hearts of thousands across Mzansi. Her hits such as Mayihlome and Thula Mama became household names, and her songs took her to the top of the radio charts. She was also known for her award-winning opera and concert work.

She performed for distinguished audiences at events such as late president Nelson Mandela's 75th birthday. She lead the New Zealand and SA national anthems at the historic 1995 World Cup rugby final.

Sibongile was awarded with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver by the presidency for her "excellent contribution to the development of SA art and culture in the musical fields of jazz and opera".

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