Rally driver Gugu Zulu died on Monday after experiencing breathing problems while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Gugu, who was 38 years old, was one of the Trek4Mandela climbers ascending the mountain to raise awareness for the Caring4Girls sanitary pads programme. He is survived by his wife, Letshego, who was also participating in the event, and their daughter.
His death was confirmed by his family and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
READ MORE: Motorsport racing champion Gugu Zulu dies
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of the climbers on the Trek4Mandela, Gugu Zulu, lost his life early this morning in his attempt to summit Kilimanjaro.
“On behalf of the Board and staff of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, we extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Letshego Zulu, their daughter, Lelethu, and the Zulu family on this tragic loss,” a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation says.
In an interview with Run Ride in 2012, Gugu said his love for motorsport started at the age of six. He loved the sport so much that he enrolled at the Isondo Racing academy.
In 1999, he graduated from the academy. In 2000, he won the Vodacom Isondo Sports 2000 national championship, winning 13 out of 16 races with two second places.
In 2001, former racer Sarel van der Merwe took Gugu under his wing when he was given second seat in the inaugural Sasol Steam Team.
The Soweto-born and raised motorsport champion won the Guinness Achievement, Wesbank and Goodyear Star of Tomorrow awards.
He was later offered a drive in the rallying world. In 2004, he competed overseas against the likes of Mario Andretti’s grandson, Marco, in the Skip Barber Dodge Racing Series. He was also an advanced driving instructor for Volkswagen, Audi and BMW.
READ MORE: Gugu Zulu challenges Formula 1 champion Mika Häkkinen for his 1958 Mercedes 300SL roadster
Apart from burning rubber on the racing track, Zulu also presented motoring shows. He joined Car Torque on 17 July 2005.
In 2007, he was appointed as the commercial manager for A1 Team South Africa, which competes in (and hosts a race for) the A1GP, “The World Cup of Motorsport”.
Gugu tied the knot with his longtime sweetheart, Letshego, in 2014 in a beautiful ceremony attended by their friends and family.
They were blessed with a daughter in June 2015.
Additional reporting: Car Torque