The South African jazz legend Ray Phiri passed away during the morning hours on Wednesday, 12 July. The news came as a shock to the country as the prominent jazz, fusion and mbaqanga musician succumbed to lung cancer. Ray was hospitalised two weeks ago, according to Times Live, as he struggled to battle his illness. Now the music industry and the country mourns this remarkable man, who had an incredible career spanning over 40 years.
Ray started a band in the 1970s called The Cannibals. When the band called it quits, he went on to form the band, Stimela. Stimela released several critically acclaimed albums since 1982. One of our favourites is the 1987 track, Unfinished Story, which you can watch below.
Ray Phiri had a huge impact on the music industry. His own daughter, Nonkhu Phiri is also an acclaimed musician. It is through his albums, the people that have seen him perform live, his family and friends, that he will be remembered forever. As news broke about this tragedy, tweets have been pouring in paying respects to Ray.
What a loss! Rest In Peace, Ray Phiri. Through your music, you never missed a beat. May it live on forever 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/cTCsr46Cri
— BET Africa ch. 129 (@BET_Africa) July 12, 2017
— Mweli Masilela (@mwelimasilela) July 12, 2017
— Nontobeko Sibisi (@Nontobek0Sibisi) July 12, 2017
Rip to the legend. Thank you for the music. Mr Ray Phiri pic.twitter.com/p64vCaj5Wy
— Abuti Fill Up (@CassperNyovest) July 12, 2017
Rest In Peace to one of South Africa’s musical greats, Ntate Ray Phiri. Your music will live on forever🙏💔 pic.twitter.com/7nCTcliXn9
— Maps Maponyane (@MapsMaponyane) July 12, 2017