South African jazz legend, Ray Phiri has died.

The 70-year-old musician suffered from lung cancer and had recently been admitted to a hospital in Nelspruit.

The veteran afro jazz musician died on Wednesday morning at a Nelspruit hospital after a two-month battle with lung cancer, his family has confirmed.

Family spokesperson Paul Nkanyane confirmed Phiri’s death and said the star died at around 3:30am surrounded by family and friends.

The star was hospitalised two weeks ago and his condition became public earlier this week when a close friend started a crowd-funding initiative to help pay for his medical costs.

Phiri has performed several times in Zimbabwe at both public and private functions.

One of his memorable shows was when he came to Zimbabwe with Paul Simon during the Gracelands Concert that attracted thousands of people at Rufaro stadium.

The last private function in Harare was a couple of years ago when he performed with Stimela, courtesy of the South African embassy on a Stimela Reunion Concert.

In an interview earlier this month, Phiri asked for space and privacy during his illness.

Ray Phiri – a jazz, fusion and mbaqanga musician – was born on 23 March 1947 near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

He was a founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s.

Later, the Cannibals would grow in size and rename themselves, becoming the hugely influential afro-fusion band, Stimela, with songs such as Whispers in the deep, Come to me Zwakala and Where did we go wrong.

Phiri was scheduled to perform at Rocking The Daisies Music Festival later this year.