One of South Africa's most respected bass players and songwriters, Sipho Gumede, died Monday (July 26) in a Durban hospital following his admission for internal bleeding. He was 47.

One of South Africa's most respected bass players and songwriters, Sipho Gumede, died Monday (July 26) in a Durban hospital following his admission for internal bleeding. He was 47.

Gumede is regarded as an icon of the domestic jazz scene. He is best remembered for his work with seminal early '80s Afro-jazz group Sakhile, which provided a musical touchstone for those engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle. He also played with Hugh Masekela and Caiphus Semenya, and toured the United States, Canada and the Bahamas with Harry Belafonte and Letta Mbulu.

In recent years, Gumede had come into his own as a solo recording artist, releasing several albums through domestic independent Sheer Sound. His 1997 album "Blues For My Mother" (1997) has surpassed gold status (25,000 units), according to the label. Earlier this year, Sakhile reunited to record "Togetherness," their first album together for more than a decade.

Sheer Music managing director Damon Forbes described Gumede's death as "a huge loss for South African music".

Gumede is survived by his wife, Fikiswa Pupum.

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