Tsambo, 38, affectionately known as HHP (Hip Hop Pantsula) and Jabba to his fans, died yesterday apparently after a bout of depression.
His wife and publicist, Lerato Sengadi, confirmed that HHP had died, but she was unable to speak to The Star, saying she was still in shock.
A short statement from the family confirmed the death of the Bosso hitmaker.
“It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Jabulani Tsambo, known to his fans as Hip Hop Pantsula, passed away today. At the time of his passing, he was 38 years old. He is survived by his wife, his parents, two sisters, his son and nephew,” the statement read. The cause of death was not disclosed.
HHP battled depression for years and in 2016 he revealed that he had attempted suicide on three occasions in 2015.
His death comes just as the World Health Organisation marks World Mental Health Awareness Month in October.
Social media went into overdrive with messages of condolences to HHP’s family and friends.
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said on Twitter: “HHP was a pioneer of a culture. Through his music, his rhythm, rhymes, poetry and persona he inspired a generation of young people who used him to frame themselves to what they could be if they work as hard. Many of us are shocked - may he RIP.”
Media personality Bontle Modiselle tweeted: “He tried to end his life so many times before. I hate that he succeeded this time around.”
Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko, expressed her sadness at his passing. “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of a young, talented man, an award-winning artist, pioneer of Motswako rap, who frequently performed in several languages, though mostly in Setswana throughout the country and even across borders. We can call him an interpreter of social cohesion.”
HHP was born on September 14, 1980 and grew up in Mahikeng.
He released six albums, and his popular songs include Jabba, Tswaka and Bosso.
According to a recent report by the Lancet commission, 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental or neurological disorders or psychosocial problems.
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It is not only the absence of mental illness, but it is rather explained as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
"It affects how we think, feel and act. It helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood,” said Megan Hosking, a psychiatric in- take clinician at Akeso Clinics.