Cape Town - Journalist Suna Venter, one of the so-called SABC 8 who was fired for challenging former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng's policy not to broadcast footage of violent protests - has died. She was 32.
Her body was discovered in her Fairlands, Johannesburg apartment by a friend on Thursday morning.
At the time of her death, Venter was working as a senior producer on the RSG Current Affairs show.
Venter was one of seven SABC journalists who were reinstated this year following a Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee investigation into the affairs at the SABC. This, after they were targeted and victimised for speaking out against editorial issues at the embattled public broadcaster.
Venter again made headlines earlier this year when she was shot in the face with an air rifle outside a Johannesburg restaurant, and had to undergo surgery to remove two pellets.
At the time, she told media she believed she was being targeted for the role she had played in exposing wrongdoings at the SABC, and revealed numerous other instances of threats and intimidation she had experienced.
In a statement released by the Venter family on Thursday, it was revealed that she had recently been diagnosed with a cardiac condition known as stress cardiomyopathy, or "Broken Heart Syndrome", a condition which causes "rapid and severe heart muscle weakness".
Statement from the Venter family following the death of #SunaVenter who was part of the #SABC8. pic.twitter.com/vFHtdQ1pCr
— Michael Appel (@TheMikeAppel) June 29, 2017
They added that the condition was caused by "trauma and prolonged periods of unnatural stress", before pointing out that Venter had been assaulted on three different occasions during the past year, the brakes of her car were cut, and she was shot at and abducted and tied to a tree at Melville Koppies while the grass around her was set alight.
The family also said they believed that Venter's condition was exacerbated - if not caused - by the events of the past year.
Following news of Venter's death, former colleagues and members of the media fraternity took to social media to pay their respects to the revered journalist and activist.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of SABC radio producer and journalist Suna Venter. Condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/B0aZTtGgL6
— National Press Club (@npclub) June 29, 2017
And 32 year old Suna Venter -one of heroic SABC 8 - found dead, after being diagnosed with stress related cardiac illness.
Sad day for media https://t.co/LIAQaF52ZE
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) June 29, 2017
Journalists of this country are indebted to #SunaVenter for her courage. She paid the ultimate price for it.
— Micah Reddy (@RedMicah) June 29, 2017
Sad day for SA media!
Peter Bruce intimidated and Suna Venter (one of #SABC8) found dead, after being diagnosed with cardiac condition.
— Real-Ryan (@earlseptember) June 29, 2017
Wow, #SABC8 journalist Suna Venter has died. What a brave, fierce woman. RIP pic.twitter.com/DYSyeevk9h
— Jesus' Fave🙏👑 (@lulushezi) June 29, 2017
Venter is survived by her parents, Phillip and Christa Venter, and two siblings.