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Gospel star Vuyo Mokoena dies

THE LAST DAYS: Vuyo with his wife Tebogo by her side in this picture taken last week
THE LAST DAYS: Vuyo with his wife Tebogo by her side in this picture taken last week


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By Showbiz Reporter

SOUTH African gospel music icon Vuyo Mokoena died early Friday, a week after his second collapse at home where he was recovering from severe leukaemia, his record company announced.

Big Fish Music said the star drew his last breath at 0530hrs.

The Njalo star was first admitted to Johannesburg ’s Linksfield Hospital in March after suddenly blacking out at his home.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia - a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells.

Mokoena was discharged to recover at home.

But on Thursday last week, he was back in hospital, this time after going down with a severe headache. Doctors found he had a brain tumour.

A family spokesman, speaking at the time of his admission last week, said the award winning star was “awake and conscious of his surroundings, though he is very weak”.

“He is able to talk but his voice is deep and a bit hoarse, like somebody who has just woken up. His left eye is also a bit lazy but all of that is improving daily,” fellow gospel singer, Sipho Makhabane said, asking fans to pray for the star.

When he was first admitted in hospital, celebrity friends including Rebecca Malope rushed to his side.

His wife, Tebogo, remembered: “We were sitting at home when he suddenly complained about stomach pains and I rushed him to hospital.”

The star had four children.

MAGIC SMILE: Vuyo in happier days before he was diagnosed with cancer
MAGIC SMILE: Vuyo in happier days before he was diagnosed with cancer

LEUKEMIA FACTS:

In the UK , almost 7,000 people are diagnosed with leukaemia every year. The term leukaemia refers to a group of cancers of the blood cells. In leukaemia, white blood cells – which are made in the bone marrow -- become abnormal, and divide and grow in an uncontrolled way.

White blood cells protect your body from infection. In leukaemia, some of the white blood cells don't grow properly. They stay in the bone marrow and keep reproducing in an uncontrolled way. These abnormal white blood cells fill up the bone marrow and prevent it from making healthy white blood cells. This means the body is less able to fight off infections.

The symptoms of leukaemia vary, depending on the exact type of disease and how advanced it is. Many symptoms are vague, such as fever, headaches, weight loss and night sweats. They may also include tiredness, breathlessness and pale skin, frequent infections that do not get better, abnormal bleeding from gums and cuts, heavier periods in women, bone pain (due to the pressure of a build-up of cells in the bone marrow), swollen lymph glands.

The exact cause of leukaemia isn't known, although there are some factors that increase the chance of developing it. These include: a weakened immune system, high doses of radiation, or diseases that affect the immune system (e.g HIV).

The effectiveness of treatment for leukaemia depends on the type and stage of the disease. Acute leukaemia often goes into remission (the symptoms go away; the disease is under control but not necessarily cured). But many people with acute leukaemia have a relapse (the disease returns). Treatment includes: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, bone marrow or stem cell transplant etc.

VUYO MOKOENA: NJALO

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