Vuyo Mbuli is dead after the co-presenter of SABC2's Morning Live breakfast show suffered a fatal heart attack and died. He was 46.
The Morning Live crew I'm told is shocked and saddened about Vuyo Mbuli's unexpected passing five days after his 46th birthday and who was described as "a healthy man".
Vuyo Mbuli died in a Bloemfontein hospital yesterday after he collapsed and was rushed to the Bloemfontein Mediclinic on Saturday night after suffering a heart attack whilst watching a rugby match between the Cheetahs and the Reds at the Free State stadium.
He was treated at the stadium before he was taken to the Bloemfontein Mediclinic.
Vuyo Mbuli was the co-anchor of Morning Live since the start of the morning programme on SABC2 on 1 November 1999, first with Tracy Going and then with Leanne Manas.
Vuyo Mbuli made his South African television debut in 1993 as a continuity presenter for SABC3, then did sports presenting and then read the news after taking the Morning Live job.
Vuyo Mbuli's absence come Morning morning on Morning Live following his untimely and tragic death after 13 years on the air in the Morning Live anchor chair, co-incidentally co-incides with the departure of Debora Patta on e.tv who've just left 3rd Degree this week with the final episode on South African public television - the show also ending after 13 years.
While professional on the air, Vuyo Mbuli's personal life and side-businesses were at times more tumultuous away from the SABC cameras; Vuyo Mbuli's private life often made for lurid headlines and scandalous stories in South Africa's tabloid newspapers which had the South African television industry sniggering from time to time.
"From Morning Live our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, we will truly miss our anchor," said Morning Live in a statement on Sunday morning.
"He will be greatly missed," said Nothando Maseko Morning Live's executive producer. "It hasn't been easy for all of us at Morning Live. Vuyo's passing is definitely not just a loss to us here at the SABC but its a loss to his family, friends and I would say South Africa," she said.
"The thought of watching Monday morning and he's not there ... it's quite something," said Tracy Going, the former Morning Live co-presenter who said Vuyo Mbuli "could be moody. You know how we all are - we have the good and bad. But Vuyo Mbuli was incredibly committed and he was incredibly hard-working. He worked very very hard to be so well-informed."
Leanne Manas, Vuyo Mbuli's Morning Live co-presenter simply said I'm devastated."
"He was a person who was determined to make sure that South Africa succeeds," said Kaizer Kganyago, SABC spokesperson.
"In a press statement the SABC says "we will always remember Vuyo Mbuli for his dedication and loyalty not only on the job, but to the South African public at large through his engaging and thought-provoking presentation style."
"He will be sorely missed and on behalf of the SABC board, SABC management and our staff, our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. The public will fondly remember him for his catchphrase 'Sharp-sharp'."
In a statement the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Patrick Craven said: "We are waking up poorer today. We shall miss one of the most familiar faces and voices in South African broadcasting. He was always a true professional, fair and friendly, humble and respectful, yet never afraid to ask difficult questions to get to the truth."
Thuli Madonsela, South Africa's public protector, said "it is quite a sad day for South Africa and for journalism."
Dina Pule, the minister of communications said "Vuyo Mbuli in studio was able to speak in many languages. The variety of languages he spoke made of Vuyo Mbuli a household name. I'm sure many people woke up when they heard his voice.Vuyo Mbuli had become part of our ritual and a part of our lives."
In a statement president Jacob Zuma said "It's hard to think of a more patriotic and positive person that Vuyo Mbuli. He was always cheerful and the whole nation will miss his smile and encouraging words. I wish to express, on behalf of government and the entire South African population, our words of condolence to the Mbuli family, friends and the SABC."
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