Koyo Bala: A fighter until the end

Koyo Bala (Instagram)
Koyo Bala (Instagram)

Johannesburg - As news of Koyo Bala's death continues to send shockwaves around Mzansi, friends and family have remembered him for the fighter that he was.

Koyo (37) was openly HIV-positive and last year confirmed that he was also battling anal cancer. With many health scares defeated in the past, Koyo was open about his battle, saying that he was not prepared to allow the dreaded 'C' to beat him.

Speaking to Daily Sun last year, Koyo spoke out about his numerous battles. "Two years ago I was diagnosed with anal cancer and I took all the necessary steps to fight it. But now another form of cancer has been detected in my system. I was told I must take six months off to get better. It's going to be a difficult few months, but I know I can beat this cancer."

As time went on and the disease wreaked havoc on his body, Koyo remained upbeat, filling his social media accounts with positive messages. Koyo was working on an autobiography and had returned to studio to make new music. "The music I'm making is about me, my life and the terrible pain I have been through."

Just two weeks ago, he opened up about going for gruelling chemotherapy. Again, his determination to overcome the odds was evident. "When I'm lying in my bed feeling terrible pain, I tell myself I will wake up and use my time positively."

Koyo used his HIV status to openly engage fans about the disease, using education as a key to inform those who did not know how to handle the killer disease.  Speaking to Drum in 2011, he said he was determined to make an impact. "I want to use my bubbly personality to help those struggling to come to terms with their status and instill a sense of hope."

It wasn't all positive though. Koyo says that when he found out he was HIV-positive, he thought his life was over. "When I found out, my world felt like it was coming to an end. Thoughts of death started racing through my mind. I felt like I was staring death in the face and pictured friends who had died of AIDS."

He didn't let it get the better of him, and as reported by The Juice, despite going for chemo and having his body riddled with cancer, Koyo wanted to make the best of life. He attended the recent Metro FM Awards and proudly posted pictures of himself with his celebrity friends. Those close to him say his death has been a shock, simply because he was so determined and focussed to win. 

Last year, Somizi paid tribute to Koyo, calling him his hero. And as the tears flow, we can only hope that his legacy lives on. We leave you with Somizi's message...

"You may not be aware. But you have inspired a lot of us with your courage. Your fight against cancer. You disclosing your HIV status. Looking at you facing your challenges head strong. You have ignited the fighting spirit in us that we never knew existed. You were chosen to give us lessons and remind us that is is up to us to win or lose battles. And with you almost to the finish line as a winner, we are encouraged in every aspect of life. Thank you Koyo Bala. Love you."