Ntshebe had been asked by the Nobel Peace Prize winner to sing a song called ”Hope” at the June 11 opening ceremony of the World Cup in Johannesburg.
He was preparing for rehearsals when he contracted meningitis and was admitted to Livingstone Hospital in his hometown of Port Elizabeth, where he died.
”This is such a sad, tragic story,” said Sony Music Entertainment chief executive officer Keith Lister, according to the Sapa news agency.
“Within days of realising his dreams he was struck down like this. It is a great loss. For someone who has worked as hard as he has, who has trained, and then to have it taken away right at the moment of the acknowledgement of his talent and success...”
Ntshebe had just finished recording an album containing a spoken message from Mandela. He had signed a multi-album deal with Epic.
The “Hope” track has already been included on the official World Cup album, set for worldwide release.
Siphiwo is a true South Africa World Cup legacy, gone too soon. May his spirit lead us to 11th June 2010.
May his soul rest in peace and may Siphiwo‘s spirit of hope centre us all,” said Lebo M, producer of the World Cup opening ceremony.
http://www.siphiwo.org/ The Official Website of Siphiwo Ntshebe.