The Masekela family, in a statement confirming the news to the media on Tuesday, said: "After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa surrounded by his family".
"Hugh Masekela was someone who always engaged robustly with the press on musical and social political issues".
"A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss", the family said in a statement.
SOUTH African jazz legend and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Masekela has died aged 78, his family announced today.
1939 - The year Bra Hugh was born in the town of Witbank.
"I didn't go into it for notoriety or fame".
"In April 2017, while in Morocco, I fell and sprained my shoulder. Another tumour was discovered and subsequently, in September 2017, I had emergency treatment and the tumour was neutralised".
He has opened his own studio and record label, House of Masekela which has already put out its first release: Friends - a 4 CD collection of jazz standards featuring his dear friend, pianist Larry Willis.
Music-lover Tumisang Molepo said she wished Masekela comfort as he fought the disease. Well known for anti-apartheid songs such as "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home", his skill and mastery of the trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, cornet and vocals will continue give joy and upliftment to future generations.
Totally shattered to hear that Bra Hugh has passed.
Masekela is the father of American TV host, producer, singer, sports commentator and actor Selema "Sal" Masekela.