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Brenda died peacefully

May 10, 2004

Brenda Fassie
Photo - AFP
JOHANNESBURG — Brenda Fassie was sleeping peacefully when she died late on Sunday afternoon, her record company said.

EMI Music lawyers Leslie Sedibe said Brenda Fassie's nephew Tshepo was with her when she died around 5pm on Sunday.

"Death has this time robbed this country, Africa and the world of one of the greatest talents to come out of the township of Langa in Cape Town," Sedibe told a packed press conference at the Sunninghill Hospital.

"Brenda occupied a special place in the minds and hearts of many people around the world. Indeed, a hero has fallen," he said.

Sedibe thanked many South Africans, including President Thabo Mbeki and his predecessor Nelson Mandela, for supporting the Fassie family over the past two weeks of Fassie's illness.

Funeral arrangements had not yet been made, but would be announced this week, he said.

Former African National Congress Women's League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was by Sedibe's side.

She refused to comment, except to say "this is an extremely sad day for all of us."

Fassie's mentor Chicco Twala and former Pan Africanist Congress member Ngila Muendane were also at the hospital, and Arthur Mafokate, Metro FM DJ Penny Lebyane, producer Duma Ndlovu and Sony Music executive Lindelani Mkhize came later.

Mkhize said: "It's a great loss to the music fraternity. Akekho ofana naye (there is no one like)," he said.

However, he said Fassie died before her actual death due to irresponsible reporting by the media.

Responding to the news, President Thabo Mbeki said Fassie was not only important to South Africa, but to the whole of Africa: "(she made) souls rise in bliss wherever her voice reached".

Various other politicians paid tribute to the spirit and genius of the South African singer. She was hailed as "wonderfully talented", a "national treasure," and "a cultural icon, who helped shape the sound and spirit of her generation."

"Fassie defied her bad past and did something out of it. As a black woman from a poor background, she did not sit down," the ANC Youth League said.

Fassie was admitted to the Sunninghill Hospital after an asthma attack on April 26 which led to cardio-respiratory arrest.

Doctors resuscitated her but she fell into a coma, and on Friday her family was told there was nothing more to be done to reverse her condition.

A call line had been set up for Fassie's fans and supporters, her manager said.

Callers would be able to send and listen to messages of condolence, and hear some of her previously unreleased work.

The number is 082 234 2004. Normal cell phone rates apply. – Sapa

Related links stories
Mandela visits Fassie [06/05/2004]




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