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2016-07-18 10:47

REST WELL, DEAR FRIEND: SA racing mourns the death of local motoring hero, Gugu Zulu. Image: Facebook / Gugu Zulu

Cape Town - Esteemed South African Rally driver Gugu Zulu passed away after developing breathing problems while attempting to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Zulu was climbing the mountain for the Nelson Mandela Foundation. 

Decorated sportsman

Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation said, that he is "devastated" and felt a huge "sense of loss.”

Zulu and his wife Letshego were part of the Trek4Mandela expedition. The climbers were due to summit Kilimanjaro for Mandela Day. 

The 2016 Trek4Mandela expedition aims to raise funds to ensure that 350 000 female children will not miss a day of school due to menstrual issues.

Gallery: Gugu Zulu

Statement from Nelson Mandela Foundation: "It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of the climbers on the Trek4Mandela, Gugu Zulu lost his life early this morning in his attempt to summit Kilimanjaro.

"On behalf of the Board and staff of the Nelson Mandela Foundation we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Letshego Zulu, their daughter Lelethu and the Zulu family on this tragic loss."

READ: 'We’ve lost a true motorsport gem' - Wheels24 remembers #GuguZulu

"Details are sketchy. What we do know is that Gugu experienced problems breathing. The medical team supporting the trek put him on a drip and they descended the mountain with him. We are informed that the medical teams tried everything possible to save his life.

Gugu was climbing Kilimanjaro with his wife Letshego and we understand that they both descended the mountain together with Richard Mabaso, the project leader and the medical teams. The team was led by experienced mountaineer, Sibusiso Vilane."

WATCH: #GuguZulu honoured in this touching video

Volkswagen SA's Communictions general manager Matt Gennrich says: "We are absolutely gutted and shocked. We've known Gugu for ever and he has been racing for us for years, especially with the new GTC series he was going to race as well. We feel for his family, and we're deeply saddened."

Gugu Zulu profile: 

- Born May 13, 1978
- VW, Audi, BMW driving instructor
- Began racing in 1999, after graduating from Isondo Racing Academy
- Won Vodacom Isondo Sports 2000 national championship, winning 13/16 races with two second places
- In 2001 Sarel van der Merwe took him under his wing and gave him the second seat in the inaugaural Sasol            Steam Team
- In 2001 he also won the Guinness Achievement Award and Wesbank and Goodyear Star of Tomorrow awards.
- In 2002 his lap times matched those of Sarel van der Merwe
- In 2003 he joined the SA national rally championship, losing the the championship race by one point
- In 2004 he raced overseas in the Skip Barber Dodge Racing Series
- In July 2005 he joined the now-defunct Car Torque presenting team
- In August 2007 he was appointed as the commercial manager for the South African A1 team
- Affectionately known as “the fastest brother in Africa”



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