Zimbabwe’s athletics legend, Artwell Mandaza has died. His death was confirmed by his son Durai Mandaza who told ZBC News that his father died of a heart attack at Nzvimbo village in Chiweshe on Monday morning.

He was 73.

Mandaza shot to fame in the 1970s winning several accolades as the first black to attain several feats at a time the white minority held monopoly over the sport. Mandaza is regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s greatest athletes and will be remembered more for his 1970 record time of 9,90 seconds in the 100m dash.

Tragically, he never competed in the Olympic Games because his incredible 10,3 to 9,9 second searing sprints were performed when the pariah “state” of Rhodesia was barred from the Olympic Games. The family is still working on the funeral arrangements.

Mandaza ran 100m in 9,9 seconds in Welkom, South Africa in 1970, the first African and fourth black person to do so South of the Equator.

He reportedly died in penury at his rural village and had nothing to show for his extraordinary achievements as a high profile athlete.

state media