Family reveal Robbie Malinga had pancreatic cancer, detail last moments
“To me that was a sign of goodbye because he never turned back,” said Bheki Malinga as he described his brother’s final moments to TimesLIVE after a press conference.
Robbie Malinga's brother confirmed on Wednesday that the music veteran was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in June this year, leading to several spells in and out of hospital.
Speaking at a press conference near Robbie's home in Johannesburg, Bheki Malinga said that his brother battled to walk and eat in the days leading up to his death, and often spoke in a low voice. Still, he would reassure family members that he was okay.
Only family and close friends knew about the diagnosis but his wife Anne said she decided to speak about it to show there was "no shame in pancreatic cancer."
The family said that as much as they knew death was coming after the cancer diagnosis, Robbie's death on Christmas day was still a shock.
"We are devastated but we have to be strong for (Robbie's wife) Anne and the kids," Anne's sister said.
The star invited close friends and family over to his house only hours before his death. He asked his brother to turn him around as everyone arrived and ate, before taking his last breath.
Robbie and his wife went on holiday to the Maldives in November, after which his health deteriorated.
Robbie had spent much of 2017 in and out of hospital. Speaking to Sowetan last month about his health struggles, Robbie said it had left him concerned about his family's future.
"I was scared for my kids, man. My kids are so spoilt; I make sure that I do everything for them. My wife as well, she's still young to have her husband die...my fans. It was scary but I am a strong person, I am a believer," he said.
A memorial service for Robbie will be held on Friday at Grace Bible Church from 12 noon till 4pm. His funeral will be held on Tuesday at Rhema at 8am.