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South African jazz legend Ray Phiri dies

R.I.P: Ray Phiri. Photo Credit: Supplied

SOUTH AFRICAN jazz legend Ray Phiri has died at the age of 70 after a two-month battle with lung cancer.

Phiri rose to fame when he featured on Paul Simon's Graceland album in 1986.

He was admitted to hospital a few days ago, while a public appeal was launched to help pay for his medical bills.

In an interview with The Sowetan newspaper earlier this month, Phiri said: "Let me suffer [in peace with my] pain, on my own with my dignity."

Phiri - a jazz, fusion and mbaqanga musician - was born on 23 March 1947 near Nelspruit , Mpumalanga. He was a founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s. Later, the Cannibals would grow in size and rename themselves, becoming the hugely influential Afro-fusion band Stimela.

Phiri was scheduled to perform at Rocking the Daisies music festival later this year.

In a recent interview with the City Press, Phiri said: "Music is spiritual. It provides healing and reflection, and it should add value. Emotion should shine through, and a healthy respect for the audience is required."

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