FILE - In this March 2012 file photo, South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela performs during the Observance for Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in central London. A family statement issued on Twitter Tuesday Jan. 23, 2018, says South African jazz musician and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Masekela, 78, passed away in Johannesburg after a lengthy battle against prostate cancer. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Parliament - The South African Parliament on Tuesday hailed jazz legend Hugh Masekela - the iconic musician, composer, singer as a selfless struggle hero whose legacy has shaped the contemporary arts landscape.

Masekela, known as the "father of South African jazz" who used his music in the fight against apartheid, died peacefully early Tuesday surrounded by his family in Johannesburg after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 78 years old.

In a statement, Parliament presiding officers said that the world will continue to draw inspiration from Masekela's life. 

"On behalf of Parliament, the presiding officers extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of iconic musician, composer, singer and inspirational South African Bra Hugh Masekela."

"Bra Hugh's enduring legacy will live on and South Africa and the world will continue to draw inspiration from his accomplished, odds-defying, selfless and inspirational life. It was music which resonated internationally and continues to appeal and shape the contemporary arts landscape."

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In a career spanning more than five decades, Masekela gained international recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hits such as "Soweto Blues", which served as one of the soundtracks to the anti-apartheid movement.

Since the 1950s, his music has portrayed the hardships, sorrows, joys and passions of our country and the struggle for freedom from oppression and injustice.

Among his unforgettable masterpieces, which fired up revolutionary consciousness, were Grazing in the Grass, the sombre power of Stimela, Soweto Blues which spoke of the 1976 youth protest, and Bring Him Back Home - the song that became an anthem for the movement to free Nelson Mandela.

When he spoke out and agitated against the apartheid regime, he was banished from South Africa, returning only in 1990.

In 2016, Bra Hugh performed for the first time again after 60 years with Abdullah Ibrahim in an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1976 uprising.

Masekela's family said that it will release details of his memorial and burial services in due course. 

African News Agency/ANA