Jazz music maestro Ray ‘Chikapa’ Phiri, has died.
Bra Phiri as the musician was popularly known, died of lung cancer at a hospital in Nelspruit, according to several South African media publications on Twitter.
“Ray Phiri passes away,” reads a tweet from SABC News Online with a breaking news video.
Phiri’s connection with Malawi dates back to the 1940s, when his stepfather, Kanyama Phiri from Dedza, trekked to South Africa to work in the mines.
The legendary musician grew up watching his troubadour puppet adoptive father playing music and that’s how his interest in music flourished as every day.
In an interview with The Nation in December 2014 ahead of his performance for a charity show in Lilongwe, Ray recollected how he found himself nurtured by Kanyama Phiri.
“My father went to South Africa to work at the mines in 1937. I was born in 1947 and a few years down the line, my mother married my adoptive father. I last met him in 1973 before he returned here and died a year later,” the jazz star stated.
Unable to attend his father’s funeral, Ray paid a tribute to the man who contributed immensely to his high flying music career through a song, I Miss You Father.
Ray Phiri is part of the internationally acclaimed group, Stimela, of which he was lead vocalist and guitarist.
Several South African media houses have also published the sad news on their websites as well as Twitter pages.
News of his sickness broke last week and Phiri pleaded for privacy saying “let me suffer pain, on my own with dignity battling a terminal illness,” reports the Sowetan Live.