Ladysmith Black Mambazo lead singer,Joseph Shabalala inside Gallo offices in Rosebank. Photo: Nonhlanhla Kambule-Makgati/ANA Pics

Joseph Shabalala, the founder of multiple Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has died at the age of 78.

The news was confirmed on Tuesday morning by the group's manager Xolani Majozi.

Majozi said Shabalala was with his wife Thokozile Shabalala, during his last moments. "Yes it's true. Mr Shabalala passed on this morning. The group (Ladysmith Black Mambazo) is on tour in the US, but they have been informed and are devastated because the group is family", he told TshisaLIVE.

According to various reports, Shabalala died in an unnamed Pretoria hospital.

Born on August 28, 1941, in Ladysmith, Shabalala was first thrust into the limelight when he was spotted by well-known group, the Durban Choir, after he delighted audiences with his smooth guitar playing and soprano voice. 

His big break came in 1986 when Paul Simon travelled to South Africa to collaborate with South African artists for his upcoming "Graceland" album. Simon collaborated with Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo and co-composed the now-famous song "Homeless".

The group went on to win five Grammys, and dedicated their fifth Grammy to the late former President Nelson Mandela.

The family will release an official statement later in the day.

In the meantime, fans took to social media to mourn the death of the musician.