Zoleka Mandela has died at the age of 43.
The writer was best known for being the granddaughter of South Africa's first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela - who died himself in 2013 at the age of 95 - but passed away on Monday (25.09.23) following a rapid battle with cancer, her family have confirmed.
In a statement posted to Instagram on Tuesday, the family said: "On Monday, September 18th. Zoleka Mandela was admitted into hospital for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord. Recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs as well as several emboli. Zoleka passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25th, surrounded by friends and family. Our sincerest gratitude to the medical team that took care of her."
Following the news of her death, The Nelson Mandela Foundation was quick to pay tribute to Zoleka as they remembered her as a "beloved" member of the Mandela family who was "tireless" in her activism.
In a statement, the organisation said: "The Nelson Mandela Foundation extends its heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family on the passing of Zoleka Mandela, tragically last night. We mourn the loss of a beloved grandchild of Mum Winnie and Madiba and a friend of the Foundation. When her inspiring memoir 'When Hope Whispers' was published, she graciously signed copies for all our staff and ran a leadership session for the staff around the book."
"Zoleka was a tireless activist for Healthcare and justice. Her work in raising awareness about cancer prevention and her unwavering commitment to breaking down the stigma surrounding the disease will continue to inspire us all.
"Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this most difficult time. Hamba kahle Zoleka, we will remember you.
The activist - who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and again in 2016 before having the tumour removed - is survived by two of her children.
Zoleka openly wrote about her struggles with addiction as well as the deaths of her children Zenani - who died in a car accident at the age of 13 in 2010 - and Zenawe, who died just days after being born three months prematurely.
Just last month, Zoleka took to social media where she questioned what she was supposed to tell her children about her terminal illness amid her rapid decline.
She wrote on Instagram: "What do I tell my children? How do I tell them that this time around I may not get to live my life as a survivor? How do I tell them everything will be OK when it's not? I'm dying... I don't want to die."