His elder sister Babalwa Tyhamara could not hold back the tears when Independent Media visited their Avian Park home in Worcester on Saturday.
The disheartened family said they are still reeling after the loss of their brother and nephew.
His younger sister Nomabhelu Charles remembered her brother as a “sweet, soft-spoken man with a warm heart.”
She said Tyhamara started singing in primary school.
“He started as a praise singer. He loved music and he knew from a young age that he would be an entertainer,” she said.
His uncle, Vuyiseka Mlangeni, spoke about the day Tyhamara left Worcester in search of fame and to spread his wings within the gospel fraternity.
“I was walking in Zwelethemba and he came running to me saying he is going to Johannesburg. I didn’t think he was serious because he was so young. Then when he told me he had made a connection, I thought perhaps he was telling the truth because we all knew music was his passion.”
His grandmother, Phyllis William, said: “We always had hope that he would pull through, even with all the reports of his ill health. We are deeply saddened by his passing, but we have accepted it.”
Charles said the pain of Tyhamara’s death is still very “raw” in their hearts.
“I spoke to him last Saturday and he said to me that he was getting better and that he would be home soon. The man looking after him, however, told us that his stomach was swollen and that we needed to send an elderly to Johannesburg because he was not looking good.
“We hoped he would pull through, but none of us could take away the pain he was feeling,” said the emotional sibling.
Tyhamara died at the age of 38 after a long struggle with stomach TB and liver complications.
He broke into the music scene in 1995 as back-up singer for multi award-winning gospel legend Rebecca Malope.
Three years later, in October, he released his popular hit Mphefumlo, Wami which by December had already sold 18000 copies.
The following year, he was nominated as the best newcomer and sold more than 380000 on his debut album.
President Jacob Zuma and Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthetwa, among others, sent messages of condolence to the family.
Tyhamara leaves behind his four siblings, grandparents and three children. His funeral will be held at his home on February 5.