President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially recognized revered Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi on Thursday as a national hero to his country.

"Though he is no longer with us, his music will never die," President Mnangagwa's tweet read.

According to NPR, Mtukudzi passed away on Wednesday at the age of 66 from diabetes.

Widely known as Tuku, Mtukudzi rose to fame in the late 1970s and achieved commercial success after writing songs to commemorate Zimbabwe's freedom from Britain in 1980. He also sang the southern African country's national song, "Ishe Komborera Africa (God Bless Africa)," following its autonomy, per NPR. Some of the best singles from his debut album, Africa, include "Madzongonyedze" and "Zimbabwe." CNN reports that Tuku released more than 60 albums during his 40-year career.

Despite his music transcending through various periods of Zimbabwe's path to independence, Tuku generally avoided political discourse and instead allowed his music to speak for itself. The Philadelphia Tribune writes that his 2001 single "Bvuma" was the only example in which he discussed policy of any kind. Translated from the Shona dialect as "accept that you are old," the song was a hint for then-President Robert Mugabe to step down. 

Nicholas Moyo, director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), told The Citizen that he had already begun initiating this honor, adding that a hero such as himself deserves this recognition.

"We have approached the government with our request for Tuku to be considered for national hero status," Moyo announced on Wednesday. 

"He deserves the status because of his hard work and leadership in the sector. He was a hero on his own and a hero of the people. His works deserve great honor."

The national hero award is the highest distinction one can earn as a native Zimbabwean. This also means anyone who is recognized under this prestige has the right to be enshrined at the National Heroes' Acre, per The Citizen. 

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