Picture: screengrab from twitter

Johannesburg - For many South Africans, Xolani Gwala was that voice from the radio and television screens that people became accustomed to over a 24 year broadcasting career. 

When the public heard that Gwala had succumbed to colon cancer, some said they shed their tears as if someone they had known had passed on. 

Listeners called into 702 and shed their tears live on air, while some of Gwala's 702 colleagues struggled to hold back the tears. Traffic man Aki Anastasiou sobbed during his traffic report and newsreader Gladys Motele broke down while she read her news bulletin. 

It was clear, Gwala's death has left many South Africans devastated.

The 44-year old veteran broadcaster revealed in September 2017 that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer. For the past two years Gwala had been fighting and from February to June this year, he took part in a world first clinical trial in Israel into cancer research.

But on Friday, Gwala lost his battle with stage 4 colon cancer.

As many called Radio 702 offering their condolences, some took to social media to express their sadness.

"This morning I cried like a 5 year old. I did not personally know him, but my soul connected with him on a much deeper level. What a beautiful soul," wrote Mmasechaba Matli.

Lulu Malinga was overwhelmed with emotions and said it felt as if she had lost a loved one.

The Star