Durban - South African film producer Anant Singh said on Thursday that the death of his friend of almost 50 years - veteran journalist Farook Khan - had come as "a great shock".
Khan died of colon cancer at a Durban hospital earlier in the day.
"We are deeply saddened to lose a friend of almost 50 years. Farook was the quintessential newshound, and had a knack of writing engaging stories. We first met in the 1970s when I ventured into film distribution, and he supported my progress in the film industry.
"Over the years we became good friends and he always regaled us with stories of his adventures in life. He was a friend of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and was present at the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight against George Foreman in Zaire in October 1974. He was also very supportive when we brought the film,‘Ali’ to South Africa," said Singh.
Khan's death left a "huge void" in the media industry, as he had been a mentor to many journalists, said Singh.