Crime has claimed another South African musician, this time reggae artist Lucky Dube.

Dube was gunned down in what police are calling a botched hijacking in Johannesburg just after 8pm yesterday. He was apparently dropping off his son at a relative's home when two gunmen approached his car and opened fire. Dube's son was unharmed.

The 43-year-old was one of South Africa's most successful recording artists. He began his career in the early 1980s as an Mbaqanga artist (Zulu traditional) before discovering his reggae gifts.

Several of his apartheid-era albums, among them "Think About The Children" and "Prisoner" (all issued on Gallo Record Company) earned platinum status and cemented his standing as one of Africa's premiere reggae artists. More recently, Dube's career was centered around his international touring schedule, which kept him on the road for several months each year.

Commenting on Dube's death, Jay Savage, managing director of Sony ATV Music South Africa, said: "Lucky was the greatest African reggae artist and it was always a pleasure working with someone who is unquestionably the best in their field. He was always a bit of a maverick but knew how to act decisively which all make for a songwriter who is good to work with. His death is an unbelievable shock."

Dube was published by Sony ATV SA and issued more than 20 albums during his long-standing relationship with Gallo Record Company.

He is survived by his new wife Zanele and his seven children Bongi, Nonkululeko, Thokozani, Laura, Siyanda, Philani and three-month old baby, Melokuhle.