South African radio star Bob Mabena died on Monday after suffering from cardiac arrest, POWER 98.7 confirmed. He was 51 years old.
“It is with deep grief and pain that we announce that POWER 98.7 Breakfast Host, Mr. Bob Mabena passed away this afternoon, Monday 10 August 2020, from cardiac arrest,” the station said in a press release. “The family is coming to terms with his passing and respectfully requests the public to afford them the appropriate space. Further details will be communicated in due course.”
— POWER 98.7 (@Powerfm987) August 10, 2020
Mabena went to the hospital for shortness of breath days before he died, according to The Daily Sun. Zoleka Qodashe, a reporter for SABC, noted he was treated over the weekend but died on Monday after being discharged from a Johannesburg hospital.
“Veteran radio personality, Bob Mabena has passed away. Mabena died at a Johannesburg hospital earlier today after being discharged this morning after a short stay in hospital over the weekend,” she tweeted.
In June, the beloved radio host had tweeted about losing his grandmother to the coronavirus, saying she went to the hospital to be treated for a lung infection. In his message, Mabena said South African hospitals were not ready to see a spike in coronavirus cases after a friend wrote about losing his mother to COVID-19.
“So sad for your loss Ntando,” Mabena tweeted. “Your experience is almost the same with my grandmother this past week. She contracted Covid in a hospital whilst going in for a lung infection. Within three days, she was gone. The hospitals aren’t ready.”
Mabena regularly interacted with his fans on social media, posting his final tweets on August 7.
Mabena’s Career Spanned 30 Years
As noted by ENCA, the radio host had a career that spanned more than three decades. He had worked in radio and broadcasting since 1989, lending his voice to institutions like Metro FM, Heart FM, 947 and SABC.
Mabena, who was born West of Pretoria, had his first gig in radio working at Radio Bop. Within a few years–and briefly dabbling in television– he was hired as the station manager at Koos Radebe, according to his official website. As his popularity continued to grow, he went on to appear in variety shows like Studio Mix and Pick a Tune.
He was also an artist, releasing several albums, and in 1997 he won a South African Music Award for Best Rap Performance.
Last month, he released a complication album to celebrate his 51st birthday. It includes some of his most popular hits, like “Sing it Back” and “Share My Love.”
“Each track is guaranteed to evoke fantastic memories of the early freedom years and the liberation of SA’s airwaves that saw the likes of household house music DJs such as DJ Fresh, DJ Monde and DJ Iggy Smalls dominate the genre in SA,” Mabena told Herald Live.
Fans Mourned Mabena on Social Media
After hearing about Mabena’s unexpected death, fans flocked to social media where they shared their condolences.
News anchor Redi Tlhabi was shocked to hear about his death. “Wow! Kgomotso! Wow! Did you really just leave us? You just slept..for eternity? What must happen now #BobMabena,” she tweeted.
Rest In Peace to Bob Mabena.🙏🏽
— L E S E D I (@_Hybreed_) August 10, 2020
Bob Mabena?????????? Nooooooo I can’t believe this? My condolences to his family and friends💔 I can’t believe it #RIPBobMabena
— Lalla Hirayama (@Lalla_Hirayama) August 10, 2020
— Kgopolo Mphela (@PhilMphela) August 10, 2020
Rest in peace grootman. I gave you all your flowers while you were still here. Thank you for the inspiration. Condolences to your family, friends , collegues and all your loved ones. Bob Mabena is the reason why most of us got into entertainment. Love you always big bro 🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/X2TlCG5e2M
— #MPAMBANE (@djsbu) August 10, 2020
REST IN PEACE BOB MABENA. It was an honour to spend time & learn your entire life story. Condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and loved ones. A great loss to the media that industry. Thank you for the inspiration 🙏🏽
Full video : https://t.co/x74bOYukYl
— The Hustlers Corner SA (@TheHustlersCSA) August 10, 2020