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Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Zoleka Mandela dies of cancer at 43

Zoleka Mandela, the granddaughter of the late South African struggle icons, Nelson and Winnie Mandela, passed away on Monday evening at the age of 43.

Zoleka, an author and cancer advocate who was outspoken throughout her long battle with the illness, passed away a day before her late grandmother’s birthday on Monday evening surrounded by family and friends.

Announcing her death, the Mandela family revealed that Zoleka had been admitted in hospital for the past week.

“On Monday, September 18th, Zoleka Mandela was admitted into the hospital for ongoing treatment for metastatic cancer to the hip, liver, lung, pelvis, brain and spinal cord,” family spokesperson, Zwelabo Mandela said in a statement.

“Recent scans revealed significant disease progression including fibrosis in the lungs as well as several embroil. Our sincere gratitude to the medical team that took care of her.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation also issued a statement Tuesday, saying it “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.”

The foundation described her as “a tireless activist for Healthcare and justice.”

Zoleka, who was first diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago, revealed recently that all indications were that her cancer was treatable, after she underwent another scan.

Last year, she confirmed that she had cancer in her liver and lungs, which then spread to other organs. She was being treated as an outpatient before her recent admission.

“I had a CT scan administered a few weeks back, which has shown that I have blood clots as well as fibrosis in my lung,” she shared.

“This explains the chest pains I had been feeling. My medical oncologist has recommended blood thinners and oral chemo… On the upside, I’m incredibly grateful that I am still treatable!” she posted on social media.

Zoleka, who is survived by four children, also revealed the agony of revealing her condition to her offspring.

“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,” she posted on Instagram earlier this month.