Born Simphiwe Mpamile, ‘Brown Dash’ has been in and out of hospital since 2010 after being diagnosed with pneumonia.
He died the day South Africa was celebrating the 8th anniversary of the death of pop queen Brenda Fassie.
His manager Siphiwe Sibisi confirmed that, he just complained about not feeling well and we took him to hospital where he died.
His wife Lunga died last year in May. They had been separated for a while at the time of her death.
His friend, kwaito star Bricks yesterday visited him in hospital before he passed away.
Brown Dash hit the big time alongside then stable-mate at TS Records Mzekezeke in 2002 with a smash hit Phans’komthumzi welanga.
DJ Cleo-produced debut album Puff ‘n Pass from 2003 picked up a Sama nomination, with sophomore album Mthandazo Wabolova grabbing the “Best Kwaito Album” title in 2005.
After his third album, Dashboard, he left TS Records in 2007 amidst financial disputes, and he released the failed album Back2Kasi.
When he was at the 18th Samas in Sun City two weeks ago, many people in the music industry expressed shock at his ailing health. He performed at the awards.
He had been living in a commune in Melville, west of Johannesburg, for some time, sharing with Sibisi.
His final performance was when together with Mdu Masilela he went down memory lane at the latter’s 40th birthday at DaVinci, Sandton, last Thursday.
There, too, Brown Dash’s health became the topic of the night.
But he was quite energetic and seemed to have found a new lease on life showing his shockingly scrawny physique with protruding cheek bones.
In the commune he is alleged to have abused illicit substances despite deteriorating health.
Robbie Malinga, producer and musician who has been involved with all Brown Dash’s projects, said: “I’m speechless. I have no words to describe my grief”.
Musician Arthur Mafokate said: “This is obviously shocking. Brown Dash was one of those musicians that kept kwaito raw and real”.
The Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation released the statement which read, the department would like to express its heartfelt condolences on behalf of the provincial government to the family of South Africa’s popular kwaito artist, Siphiwe ‘Brown Dash’ Mpamile.
“The country has lost a music star and his presence in the music industry will be deeply missed. “The untimely death is not only sad but also a loss to local music and the kwaito genre in particular, as we were still hoping for more from him”, says the MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Lebogang Maile.
“On behalf of the Gauteng Provincial Government our hearts are with his family, friends and the music fraternity at large in this moment of bereavement. The African soil from which he drew his inspiration will reclaim the mortal remains of former kwaito extraordinaire, but his music will be an eternal monument to his genius,” added MEC Maile.
Brown Dash had a penchant for brown dash bonnet in cars hence the nickname.