Monday, November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba - Music Legend - Has Died At Age 76

Sad news reported by Daily Nation...
Miriam Makeba, one of Africa’s greatest music legends and South Africa liberation heroine died on Monday in Italy where she was suddenly taken ill after a concert.

Wire reports have quoted a hospital in southern Italy saying the 76-year-old musician died early Monday.

Italy's ANSA news agency reports that Makeba was stricken with an apparent heart attack just after she sang at a concert for an Italian journalist threatened by the Naples-area Mafia.

In South Africa, her publicist broke the news to a local radio station on Monday. Talk Radio 702 said Makeba died of a heart attack shortly after performing at an event in the southern town of Caserta.

"I'm not yet absolutely certain of the causes of her passing, but she has had arthritis, severe arthritis, for some time," her publicist told the station.

Nicknamed Mama Africa by her fans, Makeba was born on March 4, 1932, in a shantytown outside Johannesburg. She was the first black South African singer to gain international fame and was also hailed as an anti-apartheid icon.

She was the the first black African woman to receive a Grammy Award in 1965, which she shared with Harry Belafonte.

The concert where she had just performed was in support of writer Roberto Saviano, who wrote "Gomorra", a book about organised crime in southern Italy.

She may be best remembered for the distinctive clicking sounds which punctuate songs in her native Xhosa language.