South Africa’s Independent Online News reported Thursday that world-renowned South African reggae artist Lucky Dube was killed in an apparent carjacking. According to police, the incident took place October 18 in Rosettenville, Johannesburg. The BBC has also confirmed the grim news.

Johannesburg Police Captain Cheryl Engelbrecht said the murder occurred at around 8:20 p.m. when Dube was driving a blue Polo vehicle in the Johannesburg suburb. She said Dube was dropping off his son in the area when he was attacked. “His son was already out of the car. When he saw what was happening, he ran to ask for help.”

Lucky Dube was hailed by as “The shining star of African reggae,” and by the UK’s Mail & Guardian as “South Africa’s biggest selling contemporary artist.” To many, Dube was a modern day hero with a message that touched millions of people. He toured extensively, and performed in the US as recently as May 2007.

Dube recorded 21 albums since 1982, and was known for his socially conscious lyrics and distinctive voice, which many critics compared to the late Peter Tosh’s husky baritone. The BBC praised Lucky Dube’s April ’07 Warner Jazz release, Respect, saying “It’s as joyful an experience as he’s ever conjured.”