Pearl Shongwe Passes Away
Pearl Shongwe Passes Away. Photo: SABC

Tributes have poured in for popular radio and TV personality Pearl Shongwe who has died at the age of 35.

Pearl’s family confirmed her passing in a statement, saying:

“It is with great sadness that the Shongwe family announces the untimely passing of our beloved daughter, Ntombifuthi Pearl Shongwe. She passed away in her sleep.” The family asked for privacy at this difficult time.

Pearl was apparently found on Tuesday morning at her Polo Fields home. An inquest has reportedly been opened by SAPS Midrand to determine the cause of death.

Thulisile Nhlapo, Acting Head of SABC1, paid tribute to the news presenter:

“This is a huge loss for the channel, and at only 35 years old, Pearl was at the prime of her career and contributed a lot to building a knowledgeable youth and imparted her knowledge about current issues to the youth of South Africa. SABC1 will forever be grateful for all she has done on the channel.”

Nhlapo said that Pearl had “contributed immensely to the broadcast industry in the form of voice over artist, producer, news anchor and TV host.

“SABC1 sends its heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues. Rest in Power!”

On Wednesday morning #RIPPearlShongwe is the top trending news item on Twitter South Africa.

Pearl, who was a Miss Soweto finalist in 2011, first worked in radio in 2010 on YFM and became popular on Morning Live, Daily Thetha and Season 6 of One Day Leader.