TENOR Siphiwo Ntshebe, who was to sing Hope at the World Cup opening ceremony next month, died in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, his record label said yesterday.
"This is such a sad, tragic story," said Sony Music Entertainment chief executive officer Keith Lister. "Within days of realising his dreams, he was struck down like this."
Ntshebe, 34, was dubbed the "new Pavarotti" after the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti, and had just finished recording an album containing a message of hope and compassion by former president Nelson Mandela.
He was preparing for rehearsals for the opening ceremony when he contracted bacterial meningitis.
LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan expressed shock at the news of Ntshebe's death.
"We are saddened to hear of his death. He was talented, and would have taken a message of hope from the World Cup to the whole world. It is a sad day for South Africa's art and football communities."- Sapa