Thandi Klaasen. (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says the death of South African jazz legend Thandi Klaasen is a huge loss to the country.
"We have lost one of the leading pioneers of South African jazz music and promoters of the country's cosmopolitan culture. She was a role model to many of our young and upcoming musicians and her legacy will live on for generations to come," he said in a statement on Sunday.
"Her passing is a tragic loss to the nation. Ms Klaassen contributed to the country not only as a musician but also a social and political activist who was always outspoken about socio-economic issues in the country."
Zuma said she had received several awards, including the National Order of the Baobab.
"We convey our deepest condolences to her family, relatives and all in the arts and culture industry. May her soul rest in peace."
The ANC Women's League also expressed its condolences.
"Her career as a singer and dancer began in the mid-1950's when the apartheid and patriarchal system were entrenched but that did not deter her from pursuing her dreams," it said in a statement on Sunday.
"Mam Klaasen's relentless fighting spirit to achieve despite the apartheid rules and patriarchy in the arts industry made her a world-renowned artist in jazz."