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Ladysmith Black Mambazo Founder, Paul Simon Collaborator Joseph Shabalala Dies

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Joseph Shabalala, founder of Grammy award-winning South African band Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has died at the age of 78, the group and the state broadcaster said Tuesday.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo issued an obituary regarding Shabalala's death.

"Bhekizizwe Joseph Shabalala. Our Founder, our Teacher and most importantly, our Father left us today for eternal peace. We celebrate and honor your kind heart and your extraordinary life. Through your music and the millions who you came in contact with, you shall live forever," the band wrote on Twitter along with a photo of him in the younger years.

The South African Government tweeted a statement extending its condolences on the passing of Shabalala.

Founded in 1964, the choral group became one of the most recognized South African music bands on the world stage under his leadership.

The nation's anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela once described Ladysmith Black Mambazo as "South Africa's cultural ambassador."

Shabalala had collaborated with Paul Simon on many music projects, including for the album, Graceland.

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