Top South African cardiologist Professor Bongani Mayosi committed suicide, following a struggle with depression, his family said on Saturday.
"In the last two years he has battled with depression and on that day [Friday] took the desperate decision to end his life," the family said in a statement - whose veracity was confirmed by News24.
"We are still struggling to come to terms with this devastating loss."
The family asked for privacy during this "difficult time".
Mayosi died on Friday morning.
The family did extend an invitation for those who wished to join them at daily prayers at their home. The funeral would be held on August 4 in Cape Town. Further details would be released at a later stage.
At the time of his death, Mayosi was the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town and an A-rated National Research Foundation researcher.
Meanwhile, Parliament issued a statement on Saturday, honouring the legacy of Mayosi – who in 2009 received the country’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe.
"Professor Mayosi's death has robbed South Africa of one of the finest brains and passionate health experts who still had so much more to offer the nation," said Parliamentary officials in the statement.
The country was indebted to him for his "immense contribution to the country's policy and strategy for health research".
Earlier, condolences were extended by President Cyril Ramaphosa on behalf of government and South Africans as a whole.
"May his soul rest in peace," he said.
Young Bongani Mayosi's ambition to become a doctor was shaped in the back of a Land Rover as the car bounced over hills under the wide skies of the Amathole district in the Eastern Cape.
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