President Zuma amongst thousands paying tribute to Mandoza

The crossover artist, 38, died on the way to hospital after experiencing difficulty breathing earlier today.

FILE: Mandoza pictured at the Roodepoort Magistrate Court on 8 December 2008. Picture: Gallo Images/Beeld/Felix Dlangamandla.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has extended his deep felt condolences on the passing of music legend, and one of the pioneers of Kwaito music, Mduduzi 'Mandoza' Tshabalala.

"South Africa has lost one of its pioneers, whose music appealed to a cross section of our people - young and old - and was known to have achieved the unique crossover culturally to be enjoyed by both black and white South Africans," said President Zuma.

The 38-year-old artist died while on the way to hospital after experiencing difficulty breathing earlier today.

"It is a great loss to the nation and we wish to extend our deepest condolences to his wife Mpho, his family and hordes of fans. Mandoza will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in peace", Zuma added.

Mandoza had been in and out of hospital after being diagnosed with cancer about a year ago.

South Africans from all walks of life have expressed their shock, taking to Twitter to share memories and to pay tribute to the music legend.

Celebrities, politicians and fellow entertainers also joined the masses in paying tribute to the husky voiced entertainer.

Among them is outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, comedian Loyiso Gola and acclaimed actress Mmabatho Montsho.

Tweets by academics including the Wits University's Professor Adam Habib and the University of Pretoria's Professor Tinyiko Maluleke bore testament to the belief that Mandoza appealed to millions of people across South Africa, and that his music went far beyond race, gender and education.

Earlier this month, it was being reported that the musician had been admitted to hospital and was "fighting for his life" but his family later reassured the public and his fans, saying he was home and in a stable condition.

They thanked South Africans for their support in what they say was a "challenging" period.