The captain and goalkeeper of South Africa's national football team has been shot dead while trying to protect his pop star girlfriend from intruders, officials said.
Senzo Meyiwa, 27, was killed in a suspected robbery at actress and singer Kelly Khumalo's home in the Vosloorus township near Johannesburg at around 8pm local time on Sunday.
"Two guys entered the house and demanded cellphones, money and other valuables," the provincial official for community safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malubane, told reporters at the scene.
"Senzo tried to protect Kelly because one of the men had a gun pointed towards her."
While the two men entered the house a third waited outside, and all three fled when gunfire was heard, police said. Meyiwa was taken to hospital, but declared dead on arrival.
In pictures: Senzo Meyiwa
In pictures: Senzo Meyiwa
1/5 Senzo Meyiwa 1987 - 2014
South Africa's goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, right, celebrates with fellow goalkeepers Wayne Sandilands, left, and Senzo Meyiwa, center, after drawing with Morocco to advance to the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations, in Durban, South Africa
2/5 Senzo Meyiwa 1987 - 2014
Senzo Robert Meyiwa makes a diving save against Australia during their friendly soccer match in Sydney
3/5 Senzo Meyiwa 1987 - 2014
Senzo Meyiwa during the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Morocco
4/5 Senzo Meyiwa 1987 - 2014
Senzo Meyiwa and Lehlohonolo Majoro during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs
5/5 Senzo Meyiwa 1987 - 2014
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Senzo Meyiwa of the Orlando Pirates in action during the Vodacom Challenge match between Orlando Pirates and Manchester United
A reward of 150,000 rand (£8,500) has been offered for information leading to an arrest, while police called for calm among angry crowds at the house and hospital and said they would "do all we can to bring Meyiwa’s killers book".
Meyiwa captained South Africa in their last four matches in the African Nations Cup qualifiers without conceding a goal, and played on Saturday when his club Orlando Pirates advanced to the semi-finals of the South African League Cup.
South Africa coach Ephraim Mashaba and several of Meyiwa's team mates assembled at the hospital where he died, while Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza said in a statement: "This is a sad loss which ever way you look at it - to Senzo's family, his extended family, Orlando Pirates and to the nation."
Teammates, footballers and sports stars expressed their shock and grief in messages on Twitter.
South African footballer Dean Furman, who plays for Doncaster Rovers, wrote: "Beyond devastated at the loss of our captain and friend Senzo Meyiwa. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this terrible time."
Andile Jali, who plays in the Belgian first division, said: "Just got a call and I was sleeping but now I can't sleep."
Former Tottenham and Portsmouth midfielder and Ghana international Kevin Prince Boateng said on Twitter: "TRAGEDY!!!! RIP Senzo Meyiwa. My condolences to his family and friends."
And South African cricketer Vernon Philander said: "My thoughts and prayers goes out the family of Senzo Meyiwa. May you find the comfort in the Lord during this difficult time. RIP."Reuse content