Professor Bongani Mayosi. Picture: University of Cape Town (UCT)

Johannesburg - Hospital group Netcare has expressed sadness at the passing of Cape Town-based cardiologist, researcher and dean of the health sciences faculty at the University of Cape Town, Professor Bongani Mayosi.

Mayosi's family confirmed that the top cardiologist committed suicide on Friday morning following a struggle with depression. "In the last two years he has battled with depression and on that day took the desperate decision to end his life," the family said in a statement.

Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare, said the company would deeply mourn the loss of a healthcare pioneer of immense stature. 

"South Africa has lost a great and courageous leader in the medical field and someone who fought fearlessly for the transformation and inclusion of black South Africans in healthcare. Professor Mayosi was also an exceptionally talented clinician and cardiologist and one of South Africa’s most talented researchers," Friedland said.

"Professor Mayosi was passionate about the education of medical students and the development of South African medical academics. Concerned about the shortage of qualified academic doctors in leadership roles at South African medical schools, Professor Mayosi envisioned the establishment of a PhD scholarship which would give qualified South African black candidates the opportunity to further their studies and research in order to build academic excellence in various fields of medicine."

Mayosi was the dean of the faculty of health sciences at the University of Cape Town and an A-rated National Research Foundation researcher. In 2009, he was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe (silver).

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday extended heartfelt condolences on Mayosi's death, saying it was an enormous loss not only to his family but to the country as a whole.

African News Agency (ANA)