South African rally driver and domestic television personality Gugu Zulu died on Monday while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his wife as part of a Nelson Mandela Day charity event.
Zulu, 36, a three-time national rally champion who became a successful motorsports presenter, was in a group of 46 climbers attempting Africa's highest mountain when he started to suffer breathing difficulties.
The party had planned to summit on July 18, the birthday of the late anti-apartheid hero and South African President.
Zulu’s last twitter post on Day 3 of the expedition:
Acclimatization day3 - just taking a stroll in the garden high above a blanket of clouds - https://t.co/2lKARh4dZP
— Gugu Zulu (@GuguZulu) July 17, 2016
"I feel a huge sense of loss," Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive Sello Hatang said in a statement.
"I am devastated. I knew him well. I recruited him to climb Kilimanjaro. The last thing he said to me at the airport before he left last week was that he wanted to speak about doing other Mandela Day projects."
A medical team put Zulu on a drip after he had difficulties breathing and descended the mountain with him but were unable to save his life, the Foundation said.
Zulu is survived by his wife and a young daughter.
Condolences pour in
South Africans took to social media to share their best memories of the rally driver who was affectionately known as 'The Fastest Brother in Africa'.
The office of the president took to twitter in response to Zulu’s shocked death.
— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) July 18, 2016
South African Minister of Sports Fakile Mbalula also tweeted his condolences.
— RSA Min of Sport (@MbalulaFikile) July 18, 2016
So sad to hear about the passing of a friend, and an inspiration to so many. Condolences to his family. Rest in peace my friend @GuguZulu
— Gareth Cliff (@GarethCliff) July 18, 2016
Gugu Zulu. The nicest man to ever walk these streets. Today is a sad day indeed.
— Anele Mdoda (@Anele) July 18, 2016
— Yvonne Chaka Chaka (@YvonneChakaX2) July 18, 2016
Kilimanjaro, which rises nearly 6,000 metres above sea level, is considered one of the world's most accessible high summits. It averages around 10 deaths annually, most of them due to altitude sickness.