Johannesburg – Legendary South African singer Johnny Clegg died at his family home in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon. He was 66.
Clegg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015.
Clegg was one of South Africa’s most celebrated sons. He was a singer, a songwriter, a dancer, anthropologist and a musical activist whose infectious crossover music, a vibrant blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythms, exploded onto the international scene and contributed immensely towards social cohesion in the young South African democracy.
The Grammy-nominated artist and honoree of several doctorates and orders including the Order of Ikhamanga hits include Impi, Great Heart and African Sky Blue.
“It is with immense sadness that we confirm that Jonathan (Johnny) Clegg, OBE OIS succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66 on the afternoon of 16 July 2019 at his family home in Johannesburg, South Africa,” Clegg’s manager Roddy Quin said in a statement on behalf the family.
“Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers him/herself to be an African. He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity. An anthropologist that used his music to speak to every person. With his unique style of music he traversed cultural barriers like few others. In many of us he awakened awareness.”
Clegg is survived by his wife of 31 years, Jenny, and their two sons Jesse and Jaron.
“His passing has left us numb and we request that the family’s privacy be respected during this trying time. The family will be holding a private funeral service and we ask you to please respect the family’s wishes. There will be a service for public to pay their respects and the details hereof will be announced in due course,” Quin said.