Sisters were with Koyo Bala as he died of cancer
After a three-year battle with anal cancer‚ musician Koyo Bala died around 9am on Monday at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town "surrounded by his three sisters".
The 36-year-old singer was part of pop gay trio 3Sum - a pop band comprised of Bala‚ Amstel Maboa and the deceased Jeff Moyo - who had a hit with 'Butterfly'. They were known in the entertainment industry as activists for gay rights.
According to his cousin Linda Bala‚ the musician was "admitted to hospital on Sunday around 4pm after he complained about pain". This was two hours since landing in Cape Town from a trip to Johannesburg‚ where he was staying with his long-term friend and group member‚ Maboa.
"We suspect that his kidney had failed and he relapsed. When he came back from Johannesburg he went to see his doctor and was immediately admitted‚ but this morning we were told that akasekho (he is no more)‚" said the cousin.
In 2011‚ Bala disclosed that he was HIV-positive to the country‚ a decision he in 2014 told Sunday Times had "cost him work". In 2014 he was diagnosed with anal cancer and decided to move back home last year where he started chemotherapy - a journey he widely shared in images‚ videos and messages with his social media followers.
His last tweet about his illness was on February reads: "I pray 2 God everyday 2 help me pass this cancer #itshard #pains #wontgiveup #canwinthisbattle #cantsleepofpains".
Maboa‚ who was inconsolable over the phone‚ told The Times about their trip to the MetroFM Awards on February 27‚ which Bala had extended with a visit to Maboa's house. But after a week that was cut short on Sunday when Bala showed signs of not feeling well - he then booked a flight and headed back home.
"We spent the whole time chatting and talking about what we wanted to do and what we wanted for ourselves. But little did I know that was God giving me a chance to bid my friend goodbye.
"He was the only person I had left‚ it's as if he was coming to say goodbye‚" said Maboa.
Their bandmate Moyo died in 2010‚ reportedly from HIV/Aids-related complications.
Messages of condolences have flooded the social media with many saddened by the news of Bala's death.
Isidingo actress Kgomotso Christopher wrote: "The friendliest care-free soul at intimidating industry events... Rest in eternal peace".
"Goodbye dear friend Koyo Bala. Oh the fun times we had when we were all young and free‚ kwaito was fresh on the radio and smiles were true‚" wrote designer Craig Jacobs.
Bala's family are yet to make funeral arrangements but said they were looking to burying the musician next week.