Rapper AKA Dead at 35 After Shooting in South Africa

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In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2022

The world of music is mourning one of their own.

South African rapper AKA, real name Kiernan Forbes, died on Feb. 10, his parents Tony and Lynn Forbes confirmed in a statement shared to his Instagram. He was 35 years old.

Police told The New York Times that AKA, 35, was walking to his car in the coastal city of Durban in South Africa when two armed people approached from across the street and fired several shots at close range. AKA and another man, who local news reports identified as the rapper’s close friend Tebello Motsoan, died at the scene. The New York Times reported that police are still searching for the gunmen.

“It is with extreme sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our beloved son,” the Forbes family’s Feb. 10 statement read, “and confirm his untimely and tragic passing on the evening of February 10, 2023.”

Their message went on to note AKA’s legacy as a celebrated music artist and loved one.

“To us, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, was a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend, most importantly father to his beloved daughter Kairo,” they wrote. “To many he was AKA, SUPAMEGA, BHOVA and the many other names of affection his legion of fans called him by. Our son was loved and gave love in return.”

The Forbes noted they are “awaiting further details from the Durban Police.”

Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape

Following his passing, DJ Zinhle, who shares 7-year-old Kairo with AKA, took to her Instagram Story Feb. 11 to share various photos of the late artist with their daughter.

Meanwhile, the South Africa Department of Sport, Arts and Culture penned a statement in his honor.

“AKA was counted amongst the best rappers in the continent. He was also a songwriter, music producer and entrepreneur,” the statement shared to Twitter Feb. 11 read. “AKA was one of the most patriotic artists who literally flew the South African flag high everywhere he went around the globe.”

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