Johannesburg – The family of Joe Maila, the health department spokesperson who died in a freak shooting accident on Friday, has thanked the public for their support.The family in a statement said that, while Maila’s death had brought pain to the family, "we draw strength from the countless messages we received from all his friends, colleagues in government and in the media, and the public at large"."The family would like to express its sincere appreciation and gratitude for all the messages and support during this difficult time, as they come to terms with this painful loss."Maila died on Friday, after allegedly accidently shooting himself at a shooting range. Police are investigating the matter. The family said it had met with police and took "comfort that the matter is receiving attention of the [police]".The family asked for the media and the public to allow them space and time to grieve. Maila’s funeral will take place on Saturday, October 28, at Potters House Church, Ivy Park, in Polokwane, Limpopo, at 07:00.There will also be memorial services arranged in Pretoria, where he was working, and in his hometown of Polokwane. "Further details will be announced as they become available during the course of the week," the family statement read.'A true professional'Meanwhile, Parliament's Health Portfolio Committee has lauded Maila for his work. "Mr Maila was a true professional, he had good working relations with the committee, his work was of high quality standard," committee chairperson Lindelwa Dunjwa said on Sunday.The committee passed its condolences on to 48-year-old Maila’s family, saying his death was a "terrible loss".Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's spokesperson Maila apparently accidentally shot himself at a shooting range in Silverton, Pretoria, police said. The minister said in a statement on Friday afternoon that it was with a "profound sense of sadness" that he made the announcement of Maila's death.