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Zimbabwean jazz singer Oliver Mtukudzi dies at 66

The renowned jazz artist has passed away after a short illness.

Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi has died at the age of 66 after a short illness.

He was also a businessman, philanthropist, human rights activist and Unicef goodwill ambassador for Southern Africa Region.

Some of his world-renowned hits include Neria and Todii.

He died earlier on Wednesday in his home country and it’s understood his family will be releasing a statement later.

Mtukudzi has produced over 60 original albums, most of them bestsellers. But it was his dedication to the live music scene in Zimbabwe - playing to enthusiastic audiences even in the remotest parts of the country - that earned him the respect and admiration of the people in Zimbabwe.

He sang in the nation's dominant Shona language along with Ndebele and English. He also incorporated elements of different musical traditions, giving his music a distinctive style, known to fans as "Tuku Music".

Most of his songs focus on the social and economic issues that govern people's daily lives. His infectious sense of optimism that pervades all his music, appeals to young and old alike.

Oliver Mtukudzi had been collaborating with Unicef Zimbabwe on a number of themes including child and youth participation and HIV prevention.

Additional information from unicef.org

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