Cape Town – The local entertainment industry has been rocked by the sudden death of legendary DJ, Russell Connolly, aka DJ Russell The Love Muscle.
Russell passed away on Friday morning after contracting a lung disease just two weeks ago.
The 56-year-old club DJ from Steenberg has been an icon in Cape Town, and started his career three decades ago at the Copacabana, Thriller and Space Odyssey clubs, always making sure the party was full with his funky playlists and vibey personality behind the mic.
Speaking to the Daily Voice on Sunday, Russell’s only brother Bradley Tobias, 39, said the family is in shock.
“Russell was never a sickly person,” said Bradley.
“He had a cough for nearly a year, it came and went but he just self-medicated.
“On 26 August he was admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital with a lung disorder and three days before his passing, he picked up a lung infection in the hospital.
“He passed away 11 days after being admitted.
“The bottom of his lungs had hardened and that caused a loss of breath.”
Russell’s unexpected death came as a shock to his fans and friends in the industry.
Long-time friend, Calvin Peters, aka Uncle Cal, says there were plans in the pipeline to hold fundraisers to help with Russell’s medical costs.
“I am shocked and still in denial on the passing of Russell,” says Calvin.
“I still filled in for him at his function at Hanover Street club on Saturday.
“Fellow DJs all planned to meet at his place when he would have been discharged from hospital to discuss how we could come together and assist a brother in need.”
Russell leaves behind three children, the youngest his eight-year-old son, along with his partner Lorna Simons.
DJ Selwyn Bartlett, 55, says Russell’s legacy will live on.
“Russell’s passing leaves a huge gap, he taught many younger DJs the ropes of the industry.
“We became friends when we were little boys in the Boy Cubs and when we reached our teens, Russell became a champion rollerskater, performing hectic stunts, and I became a DJ.
“Russell later joined me, and I was his mentor.”
West End Club’s manager, Sidney Oliver, described Russell as a gentleman who was always willing to teach the young and upcoming DJs.
“Russell was one of the few that paved the way for future DJs and many learnt from him.
“He was such a gentleman, a friendly and down to earth individual with the charisma of a champion.
“We will miss him dearly.”