July 16 (UPI) -- South African singer and activist Johnny Clegg died Tuesday in Johannesburg. He was 66.
Clegg's manager Roddy Quin announced Clegg's death in a statement on behalf of his family after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015.
"It is with immense sadness that we confirm that Jonathan (Johnny) Clegg OBE OIS succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66 on the afternoon of 16 July 2019 at his family home in Johannesburg, South Africa," Quin said.
Quin added that the family will be holding a private funeral service, and another service for the public to pay respects to Clegg will be announced later.
Clegg was born in Britain but his mother, a jazz singer from Zimbabwe, brought him to her home country before she married a South African crime reporter and they eventually moved to Johannesburg.
While growing up in South Africa, Clegg became enamored with the Zulu guitar and dance while spending time in neighborhoods where white people were prohibited from entering due to apartheid laws.
"I got into trouble with the authorities, I was arrested for trespassing and for breaking the Group Areas act," he said in an interview with NPR. "The police said, 'You're too young to charge. We're taking you back to your parents.'"
Clegg established his musical style as a mix of Zulu, rock and Celtic folk, and formed a band called Juluka -- the Zulu word for "sweat" -- with his friend Sipho Mchunu.
The pair released their debut album Universal Men in 1979 and the song "Scatterlings of Africa" found success on the British charts.
After touring for several years, Mchunu left the band to return to his native region of Zululand and Clegg founded a new group called Savuka.
The group released a number of songs including "Dela," "One (Hu)Man,) One vote," and "Asimbonanga," which he wrote for the imprisoned South African leader Nelson Mandela.
"Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers him/herself to be an African," Quin said. "He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity."
Clegg is survived by his wife, Jenny Clegg, and their sons Jesse and Jaron.