851 2014.12.04 Lulu Dikana open for the American singer/Producer John Legend performed for thousands audience at The All Of Me tour held at the Coca Cola Dome Northgate Johannesburg. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

THE SUDDEN death of soul singer Lulu Dikana has left the entertainment industry in shock.

The 35-year-old Dikana died on Wednesday night while in hospital after a short illness.

News of her death made its way onto social media on Thursday morning, leaving many people speechless.

Her sister, singer and judge on X Factor SA, Zonke, has now lost both her sisters and her parents.

Lulu’s death comes just a year after her older sister Busisiwe, 37, died suddenly. Their father, Vuyisile “Viva” Dikana, a famous jazz drummer, died in 2009.

In an interview with The Star’s Tonight music journalist Therese Owen two months ago, a spiritual Lulu spoke about how her faith had helped her through all the difficulties.

“There are so many forces out there. Music is my way of getting to the people, and when I do, I have something to say. My faith has always been very strong – stronger than my problems,” she said.

Lulu was the only opening act for the recent John Legend All Of Me tour, an experience that meant everything to her.

In the interview, she told Owen how the international star was her number one.

“He does soul, but has crossed over and everybody is accepting of his soul craft. His melody, his voice, his piano playing, he’s everything I want to be,” she said.

Lulu had just released her new album, I Came to Love.

“I realised that I need to own love. I came here to love. That is why I am here. We are all here for a reason.

“Sadly, some people leave not knowing why they were here. I want to love through my music. I want to fulfil my purpose through music.”

Chief executive of Native Rhythms Productions and family friend, Velile Sithole, said: “Lulu had a voice that could sing anything.

“From when she started off in The Lion King to where she is now. But in her genre she was probably not for South Africa, her music was bigger than South Africa and she could have been a superstar.”

She said whenever people praised Zonke, the singer would tell them: “You haven’t heard my sister’s voice, she should be the star.”

Sithole said when Zonke visited her sister in hospital earlier this week, she found her laughing and watching cartoons, eager to get out of hospital and promote her new album.

Kalawa Jazmee Records’ Oscar Oskido Mdlongwa said it was Lulu who introduced him to Zonke. “It’s a huge loss for Zonke as Lulu was always her pillar of strength. It is sad and also painful, but God talks to us in different ways and Zonke needs to be strong,” he said.

Sound African Recording, part of the Sony Music Africa label, on behalf of the family, said on Thursday that funeral details would be made available as soon as they had been finalised.

Big Concerts managing director Justin van Wyk, who brought the John Legend show to South Africa, said Lulu was a professional with extraordinary talent.

“Her passing is a great loss to the music community and to the country as a whole,” he said.

Lulu is survived by her 15-year-old son, Luhle.

Zonke will be replaced by guest judge Toya Delazy on X Factor this week. - The Star

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