SABC radio and television presenter Vuyo Mbuli had "fondly been part of many homes in South Africa", the Gauteng legislature said in a tribute to him on Monday.
"This indeed is a sad moment for South Africans," it said in one of a stream of messages of condolence.
"In the midst of mourning his untimely death, let's equally celebrate his life and remember his contribution towards harnessing our democracy and the amazing ways in which he touched our lives daily," it said.
Mbuli, 46, collapsed while watching the Cheetahs' 27-13 Vodacom Super Rugby victory over the Reds at the Free State Stadium on Saturday night.
He was treated at the scene before being taken to the Bloemfontein Mediclinic, where he later died.
The SABC's CEO Mbuli Lulama Mokhobo says Mbuli had left a legacy for the country's youth.
"He leaves a tremendous legacy and I think for the young people that have watched him and followed him..., this is a time for them to say 'I potentially could be the next Vuyo'..., somebody who is completely fearless," Mokhobo said in a Morning Live interview with Leanne Manas.
"He was somebody who was so dedicated and professional. It didn't matter what it was, if Vuyo had to do it, he did it with absolutely the best of his ability," Mokhobo said.
Manas broke down and cried on camera at the start of the programme this morning.
(Below, a 2006 photo of Mbuli interviewing Cheryl Carolus, CEO of SA Tourism, at the Tourism INDABA event held at Durban's International Convention Centre.)
The SA Democratic Teachers' Union said Mbuli had, through his show Morning Live, "set the tempo for the day".
"To the country, Vuyo was a true ambassador. He made us South Africans feel welcome in our country as he greeted us in all 11 African languages and even more," it said.
"His presentations, peppered with South African lingo -- Sharp, sharp, Heita Da, etcetera made many of us feel at home."
(Above: A file photo of Mbuli with his wife, Savita)
Inkatha Freedom Party secretary-general Sibongile Nkomo said the party would mourn Mbuli.
"He was not simply a journalist, but his life's work was for this country he loved," she said.
"His contribution was not limited to journalism, but he was involved in every sector of our society, giving his contribution of leadership to bring change, improvement and growth."
A memorial service will be held at the SABC on Wednesday, and the Mbuli family has informed the public broadcaster that his funeral would be held on Friday.
Details of the two events will be released later in the week.
(File photos: Gallo Images)
- Sapa & ECR Newswatch