Police launch probe into tenor’s death

Police have launched a probe into the deaths of an internationally acclaimed South African opera singer and his father who were found shot to death at the family's wine estate. Police said that Deon van der Walt's mother Sheila found her son Tuesday in his bedroom with two gunshot wounds to his chest, and her husband with a gunshot wound to the temple and a gun by his side. The family lived on a wine estate in the town of Paarl, just outside Cape Town.

South Africa's Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan praised the 47-year-old tenor in a statement Wednesday.

He said Van der Walt was the first South African tenor to complete the opera "grand slam" by performing in New York's Metropolitan, Milan's La Scala, Vienna's State Opera and London's Covent Garden. He had been performing with Switzerland's Zurich opera before his death. "He had a special gift; he was sensitive and expressive as an artist," Jordan said. "Those who knew him speak of his generosity and kindness." Jordan said that throughout his career, which began to take off in the 1980s, Van der Walt served as an inspiration to young, upcoming opera singers in South Africa, reports the AP. I.L.

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