Musician, businessman and music promoter Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa yesterday lost his battle with motor neuron disease after more than a year seeking medical remedy in and outside the country.
Prince Tendai died in Harare at around 3am on the way to a private hospital, some hours after his arrival from China where he was receiving treatment for about eight months.
He was 56.
A friend, Gates Jijita, said the family had decided to bring Prince Tendai back home on realisation his condition was deteriorating, but there was no emergency upon his arrival on Tuesday afternoon until early yesterday when he got serious.
“Although he needed support when walking and could hardly speak, his condition was not alarming and he was taken home.
“It got serious early today (yesterday) and he died on the way to hospital,” Jijita said.
Prince Tendai was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in September last year and doctors attributed the condition to shock or impact after he was involved in a car accident the same month.
In an interview with NewsDay before leaving for China, Mupfurutsa said he had visited a number of countries seeking medical assistance without success.
His last greatest achievement on the arts scene was hosting the Akon-Sean Paul Real Deal Concert that took place at the National Sports Stadium on September 4, 2010.
But many will remember him for the hit Character which he did with his Midnight Magic band.
He was the founder of High Density Records and director at Ekhaya Petroleum. Fellow businessman and music promoter Phillip Chiyangwa, who had a hand in the Real Deal Concert, described Prince Tendai as the best promoter in the country in the past decade.
“I believe the Akon show was the highest mark in terms of music promotion in the country. We worked together at the show, but he stands out as one of the best promoters in the country,” Chiyangwa said.
“Tendai was an icon in Zimbabwe’s music industry in many ways and his death is a great loss.”
Jijita said the late artist was generous.
“He shared whatever he had with many people. He was a true Prince and I am really touched. I am at a loss for words. We have done a lot together since 1982 and I will miss him forever,” Jijita said.
Fellow musician and workmate Joe “Local” Nyamungoma said the loss was unbearable.
“He was a brother who assisted me in many projects. I will never find anyone to fill that gap. It is really sad,” Nyamungoma said.
Prince Tendai’s brother Moses Mupfurutsa said they would release more information after family discussions, but early indications were that he would be buried at his rural home in Magunje on Saturday.
Mourners are gathered at 4 Warwick Road in Greystone Park.