Musician and socialite Koyo Bala died of cancer at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town early hours of today, Monday‚ March 7, a family spokesman has confirmed.
“We are devastated and in state of disbelief‚” long-time friend and housemate Ephraim “Ephymol” Molingoana said on behalf of the family.
He said Bala had kept a positive outlook and remained strong throughout his illness.
Ephraim “Ephymol” Molingoana told City Press that Bala wasn’t looking well when he dropped him off at OR Tambo International Airport yesterday morning.
“His condition had deteriorated. He couldn’t even walk, he had to use a wheelchair,” said a devastated Molingoana.
On February 13, Bala had tweeted: “I pray to God every day to pass this cancer. It’s hard, it pains, I’ll win this battle, I won’t give up. I can’t sleep of pain.”
The flamboyant 37-year-old‚ who publicly came out in 2012 as being HIV positive before disclosing he had also contracted cancer‚ was a member of Afro-pop group 3Sum along with Jeff Moyo and Amstel Maboa.
Koyo and the other two openly gay members of the music group 3Sum shot to fame in the early 2000s with their debut album, Dirurubele (Butterflies). They won a MetroFM award in 2005 in the “best styled group” category. Their follow-up album Siyavuma was released in 2007.
He once told Drum magazine that , “HIV won’t be the end of me … I am HIV-positive and as a celebrity and someone who is openly gay it is important to come out,” he said then.
“I want to use my bubbly personality to help those struggling to come to terms with their status and instill a sense of hope,” he told the magazine.
Maboa is now the only remaining member 3Sum group as Bala’s death follows that of Moyo‚ who reportedly died from HIV/Aids-related complications in 2010.