27/01/2017 08:03 SAST | Updated 27/01/2017 13:33 SAST

Lundi Tyamara 'Had No Secret, God Gave Him A Gift'

Rebecca Malope, Nathi Mthethwa and Tshepo Nzimande pay tribute to the famous gospel musician.

"As a person, he was a go-getter," said Tshepo Nzimande, Lundi Tyamara's former manager told eNCA on Friday morning.

South Africans woke up to the shocking news of the award-winning gospel singer's death on Friday, and was 38 years old. He died at Edenvale Hospital of complications related to stomach TB and a liver condition.

The family released a statement, confirming Tyamara died in the early hours of the morning.

The South African Music Awards and Kora All Africa Music Awards winner has sold more than three million gospel albums during his career. His music career began when he was a back-up singer for gospel legend Rebecca Malope. He was spotted by Nzimande, who then took him under his wing and released his debut album in 1998 titled "Mphefumlo Wami".

"We sold over 380,000 on his debut album," Nzimande told the news channel.

Speaking on Tyamara's secret to success, the manager said: "There was no secret. God gave him a gift ... When he was on stage he was very powerful."

Nzimande commented on controversy that followed Tyamara since his rise to fame.

"He had a lot of challenges with his behaviour, as a young child being exposed to money and fame," Nzimande said.

Tyamara struggled with a drug problem, and reportedly had several relapses while trying to kick the habit.

"One thing I will always remember with Lundi was [he] had respect," Nzimande said.

When Nzimande went to visit Tyamara in hospital on Sunday, he said he "couldn't stand" to see the musician lying in bed.

"I felt like taking him out of bed and taking all his pain," he said.

Nzimande said Tyamara is survived by two sisters and a brother. Tyamara's mother died in 2006, and his stepfather passed on shortly after, he added.

Malope, who also spoke to eNCA on Friday morning, said the news still came as a shock to her, even though she knew that he was ill.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa also extended condolences to Tyamara's family and fans.