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Legendary Zimbabwe Musician 'Tuku' Dies

Oliver Mtukudzi

Zimbabwe's most successful and internationally renowned musician Oliver Mtukudzi died on Wednesday after suffering from diabetes, ending a career that spanned four decades and 67 albums, local media reported.

The 66-year-old singer, affectionately known as "Tuku", died at a local clinic on Wednesday afternoon, the state-owned daily Herald and privately-owned NewsDay reported on their websites.

There was no immediate word from his promoter or family.

Mtukudzi began performing in 1977 with Thomas Mapfumo, another successful artist whose protest music remains popular.

With his husky voice, Mtukudzi became the most recognised artist to emerge from Zimbabwe onto the international scene and has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond.

Mtukudzi largely steered clear of politics in his songs, which touched on people's everyday life struggles.

But in 2001, his song Wasakara, loosely translated as "you are old" from the chart-topping album Bvuma/Tolerance, was interpreted by many to refer to Robert Mugabe, then Zimbabwe's 77-year-old president, who won a disputed vote the year before.

Mtukudzi's music cut across generations and in his later years he produced duets with younger musicians, some of whom he nurtured at his arts centre in Norton, outside Harare.

He has produced songs with South African group Black Mambazo as well as the late Hugh Masekela, the trumpeter and singer known as the "father of South African jazz" who used his music in the fight against apartheid. (Reuters)

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