LEGENDARY opera and jazz  musician Sibongile Khumalo (63) has died.

According to a family spokesperson Dr Sibongile Khumalo succumbed to stroke related complications on Thursday, 28 January after a lengthy period of illnes.

Her untimely death has sent shock waves within the music industry and the whole Mzansi.  Her industry colleagues were left speechless when they heard the news.

Mama Sibongile, who was born in Orlando, Soweto, started her music career in 1991. She was the daughter of legendary choral music professor, Khabi Mngoma.

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 Before then she was a music teacher while she completed her BA in music at the University of ZuluLand. She went on to obtain a BA honors degree from Wits University.  She also held a Higher Diploma in Personnel Management. She was launched into the limelight in 1993 when she won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award at the Grahamstown Festival. In 1996, she released her debut album Ancient Evenings.

The family spokesman Bandile Mngoma confirmed the death of Dr Sibongile Khumalo an  iconic, world-celebrated South African singer, affectionately known as Ma’Mngoma

He said her the world-renowned classical music and jazz vocalist had a career spanning over 30 years and she was born in Soweto from a musical dynasty, Khumalo was the daughter of Grace and Professor Khabi Mngoma.

He said Khumalo began her musical journey at the tender age of eight, and was launched into the limelight when she won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award at the Grahamstown Arts Festival in 1993. Her illustrious career saw her release several critically acclaimed and award winning albums and graced a variety of prestigious events both locally and internationally.

The First Lady of Song as termed by Nelson Mandela was a celebrated and multi-award winning musician. Throughout her career she was awarded many accolades including The Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) bestowed on her by President Thabo Mbeki.  Through her music, she has always reflected the richness of her culture, wisdom, and warmth of her family, her community, and her continent.

She will be missed by all who had the privilege of experiencing her music, her friendship and her love.

The family is grateful for the support and prayers during this time.