Award-winning South African gospel singer Sfiso Ncwane survived several near-death experiences before finally succumbing to kidney failure at a Johannesburg hospital on Monday.
President Jacob Zuma described him as one of the country’s greatest musical assets.
“The passing of Mr Ncwane is a massive loss for the country. His music touched the hearts of millions of people.
“He was one of the best gospel artists that the country has ever produced, and he left us at such a young age. We are deeply saddened. May his soul rest in peace,” Zuma added.
The 37-year-old award-winning singer died on Monday morning of complications related to kidney failure. He was rushed to Life Fourways Hospital the night before.
His long-time friend, now spokesperson for the Ncwane family, Sipho Makhabane, became emotional as he told The Star about his friend being “unable to hold on”.
Preparing to perform at a Kaya FM Soul-Inspired concert in Roodepoort on Sunday, Ncwane was too weak to go on stage, and was taken back to his home. It was around 6pm on Sunday that Ncwane’s wife Ayanda had to summon paramedics to take him to Life Fourways Hospital, where it was determined that his kidneys had failed.
“On Monday, before long, he was gone,” said Makhabane, who said Ayanda was by his side until the end. “We lost a giant, a role model of the music industry. The only thing we can do is pick up the pieces and move forward. We just ask our fellow Africans to pray for him and his family.”
The gospel icon had a history of ill health. Speaking to Sowetan, Sfiso’s mentor Tshepo Nzimande explained how Sfiso had suffered from chest pains at an early age and had to take painkillers while performing.
“He had a problem with chest pains and had to perform on the Felicia Mabuza-Suttle show. He begged me to allow him to perform, even if it meant seeing the doctor for some painkillers. He never wanted to miss a show, that’s how much he respected his audience,” Tshepo said.
According to Sowetan, Sfiso had previously survived a stroke and being struck by lightning.
In an interview with Destiny last year, Sfiso said that he had almost died after suffering from a heart attack in early 2015.
“I first collapsed in January (2015) while on my way to an event in Mpumalanga. I collapsed for the second time while performing in Swaziland, and when I was finally taken to hospital, the doctors told me there was nothing they could do for me and that I was going to die,” Sfiso said.
He called for the help of Pastor Francis Anosike and promised himself that if he lived, he would show his appreciation by buying the pastor a new car.
He survived the ordeal and later gifted his pastor with a car worth R1.9-million.
But the attention that his gift caused, brought a new struggle.
Speaking to Move in July, Sfiso revealed that he fell into a serious bout of depression after receiving public criticism for the gift.
“I wanted to die and I didn’t care how I would end my life,” Sfiso said.
His wife and pastor prayed for him to get through the dark days.
”They told me that being suicidal was not the answer to whatever issues I had. While we were praying, I heard the voice of God telling me that I would pass this stage and be victorious again. I regained my strength and held my head high, and this is when I started believing in myself again,” Sfiso said.
However, the star’s health problems continued earlier this year when the star was hospitalised with a bad bout of malaria. His wife Ayanda took to social media to ask fans to pray for her husband’s recovery.
“As you sleep tonight, please put Sfiso in your prayers, he caught malaria while he travelled to Musina a week ago. We are trusting the great physician doctor Jesus for healing,” Ayanda wrote at the time. – Compiled from ThisaLIVE, IOL, and other news outlets.