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Mulaudzi's death shocks and saddens the nation

Fikile Mbalula said Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was one of the most iconic athletes the country has ever produced.

Fikile Mbalula said Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was one of the most iconic athletes the country has ever produced.

JOHANNESBURG - The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has told Eyewitness News he's deeply saddened by the passing of Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, describing him as a shining star of South African athletics.

The 800 meter world champion was killed in a car accident yesterday.

Mbalula said the country is poorer without Mulaudzi.

The sports minister said he was one of the most iconic track athletes the country has ever produced.

"We are shocked by the news of the tragic death of Mulaudzi, his family isn't grieving alone. May his soul rest in peace."

Tributes have poured in from around the country as people continue to say his death is a huge loss.

CONDOLENCES POUR IN

The Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters has also extended her condolences to the family of the late athletics star.

His death has been met with shock by the athletics fraternity and the Presidency.

The minister's spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said, "The minister continues to encourage South Africans to exercise caution when they are on the roads."

Furthermore, various South African sporting bodies have also sent their condolences to Mulaudzi's family.

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee president Gideon Sam says young sporting enthusiasts have lost a great role model.

"He was a humble athlete and we need those kinds of role models who make it to the top but remain grounded."

President of Athletics South Africa Aleck Skhosana has also expressed sadness at the news.

"He was one of our greatest Olympians and we want to pass our condolences to his family."

Mulaudzi became South Africa's first black athlete to be ranked number one in the world.

His first international medal was a silver at the 2000 African Championships in Athletics.

The late athlete carried the South African flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.