Zakhele Zakes Msomi, 38, one of the finest drummers this country has ever produced, died on November 28.
Msomi had been ill on and off for some time and took his final bow an hour after rehearsals with Rebecca Malope.
The two had worked together for the past nine years. They had been in rehearsal for the gospel queen's upcoming CD and DVD recording for next Easter.
A distraught Malope said: "Although he has been under the weather for a long time, he said he was feeling much better the past few days before he died.
"When we were rehearsing on Thursday, Zakes seemed okay. Even when we parted, I had no reason to believe I would never see him again. I was so shocked when I got a call to say that he had passed away," said Malope.
His sister Fikile said: "Zakes was sick for a long time, but felt better over the last few weeks.
"We are told that he returned from rehearsals at 5pm, started vomiting blood and complained that he felt weak, sat on the bed where he passed away before the ambulance came.
"He was such a jolly person. He loved everybody, especially children. He was the kind of person who never crossed swords with anyone."
Malope said: "I will miss his talent. He was one of the best drummers in this industry.
"An extremely sweet person with an amazing sense of humour. A comedian of note.
Malope said rehearsals for the DVD with a new drummer would start next year.
"We have taken time off to respect Zakes, who was more like a brother to me than a band member."
The quiet drummer will be buried on Sunday. The service starts at 8am at his home at 241 New Extension in Sibongile, Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal, and continues at Sibongile Hall from 9am. The cortege leaves for the cemetery at 1pm.
Msomi, who also worked with Avante, is survived by his mother, three brothers and a sister.