Miriam Makeba, the voice against Apartheid for more than 30 years is dead.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African singer Miriam Makeba, one of Africa's best known voices and a champion of the fight against apartheid, has died of a heart attack after a performance in Italy. She was 76.
Known as "Mama Africa" and the "Empress of African Song," Makeba was the first black South African musician to gain international fame, winning renown in the United States in the 1950s with her sweeping vocals.
Makeba fell ill after a concert against organized crime in the southern Italian town of Baia Verde late on Sunday, her publicist said. She died after being rushed to a clinic in the town of Castel Volturno.
"It was from a heart attack, but she had not been well for some time," publicist Mark Lechat told Reuters. He said Makeba had also been suffering from arthritis.
South African radio stations paid tribute to Makeba, reading out text messages in praise of one of the best loved stars in the country and across the continent.
Makeba had spent 31 years in exile after openly speaking out against apartheid. One of her songs demanded the release of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in jail fighting white-minority rule.
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It's a sad loss! I'll always remember the "Pata Pata" song, so popular in PR in my childhood.
Rest In Peace, "Mama Africa".