Artistes, music lovers and the country’s leadership took time off their busy schedules to bid farewell to the first musician to be accorded  national hero status, Oliver Mtukudzi.

From spending days and nights singing and dancing in celebration of his life at his Norton home and the Pakare Paye Arts Centre, to turning up in their thousands, filling up the National Sports Stadium, Zimbabwe gave Tuku a rousing send-off.

At the NSS, artistes, politicians and other dignitaries led by guest of honour Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry paid their last respects before departing to One Commando Barracks where Tuku’s body was airlifted to his rural home in Madziwa.

Coventry had a tough time delivering her speech as the crowd kept on cheering celebrities entering the stadium.

It was Zimdancehall stars Kinnah, Killer T and Soul Jah Love who stole the limelight as they  cheered on and carried to the stage by fans and bouncers.

It was after Tuku’s body had left the stadium that various celebrated musicians including Jah Prayzah, Enzo Ishall, Jah Signal, Killer T, Baba Harare, Soul Jah Love and Chief Chirawu among others took to the stage in celebration of the “Neria” hitmaker’s illustrious life.

Baba Harare had the perfect opportunity to bid Mtukudzi farewell at the stadium, calling those in attendance to take off their hats as he sang his hit song “Hat Dzemurara”.

Leading several promoters in organising Tuku’ send-off concert which was put together in less than 24 hours, Josh Hozheri called on musicians and promoters to remain humble.

“Though great on stage Tuku remained humble and it will be a great to humble ourselves in his honour so that our lives can be celebrated as his was,” he said.

Tuku was laid to rest at his rural home yesterday afternoon.