JOHANNESBURG – The family of musician Robbie Malinga has revealed that he died following an intense battle with pancreatic cancer.

Malinga passed away on Christmas Day.

On Wednesday, some of his closest relatives and friends spoke to the media ahead of his memorial service and funeral.

Record-label owner TK Nciza said he met Robbie Malinga in 1994, when they were both just starting in the music industry.

“She said there is no shame in having pancreatic cancer and that there are so many taboos around these things‚ so we decided to say what it was‚” said TK Nciza.

The secret was kept so quiet many of his friends and business partners didn’t know about his diagnosis.

The 47-year-old musician celebrated his birthday in style in November, explaining that after being diagnosed with anaemia earlier in the year, he was afraid of dying, but thought of his children and young wife.

“I was scared for my kids man. My kids are so spoilt. I make sure that I do everything for them. My wife as well, she’s still young to have her husband die. It was scary but I’m a strong person, I am a believer,” he told Sowetan.

Robbie Malinga’s memorial service is expected to take place at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto on Friday. His funeral is set to take place next Tuesday.