Zimbabwe's vice-president John Nkomo has died after a long battle against cancer. File photo: Philimon Bulawayot

Pretoria - Zimbabwean vice-president John Nkomo will be remembered for the important role he played in shaping the course of Zimbabwe's history, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

“Our thoughts go out to the entire Nkomo family and the people of Zimbabwe,” Zuma said in a statement, following the statesman's death on Thursday.

The 78-year-old was said to have succumbed to cancer at St Anne's Hospital in Harare.

Nkomo was appointed as vice-president under Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in late 2009.

On Thursday Mugabe said: “We have lost a real revolutionary, a fighter of freedom, a friend of the people. He will be dearly missed by all of us.” - Sapa