File picture: Nigel Sibanda/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday extended his heartfelt condolences to the family of jazz legend Ray Phiri following the news of his death. 

The South African music legend died in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga on Wednesday morning after a battle with lung cancer.

Phiri founded popular soul band The Cannibals in Johannesburg in 1972 and was also frontman for Stimela, which released several platinum-selling albums.

Phiri was later honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his sterling contribution to the music industry and the successful use of arts as an instrument of social transformation. 

National Orders are the highest awards that a country, through its president, bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals.

The Presidency in a statement hailed Phiri as a music giant whose death was a huge loss to the music industry. 

“He was a musical giant. This is indeed a huge loss for South Africa and the music industry as a whole. We are with his family in thoughts and prayers during this trying period. May his soul rest in peace,” Zuma said.