Lucky Dube, a South African reggae star, was shot dead in an apparent carjacking attempt and died as he tried to drive away and crashed into a car and a tree, authorities and news agencies said.
The death of the international star focused attention on South Africa's murderous crime statistics, and united political rivals in calls for police to act.
Dube, 43, was shot Thursday night in front of his son, whom he was dropping off in Johannesburg's southern Rosettenville suburb, according to Police Capt. Cheryl Engelbrecht.
"His son was already out of the car. When he saw what was happening, he ran to ask for help," she said.
Police were looking for the perpetrators, Engelbrecht said.
Dube recorded more than 20 albums in a career spanning more than two decades, switching to reggae style in the 1980s to express his anger against South Africa's former racist white-minority regime.
South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world, recording an average of 50 murders each day. U.N. crime statistics say one in three Johannesburg residents has been robbed.
The pervasive crime has raised concerns about South Africa's hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
President Thabo Mbeki praised Dube as "an outstanding South African" and said the nation needed to "act together as a people to confront this terrible scourge of crime, which has taken the lives of too many of our people."
The Star newspaper reported that three fellow musicians were among the first at the scene.
The newspaper quoted an unidentified witness as saying Dube's son was out of the car, a Chrysler sedan, when the singer was approached by two men who opened his door and shot him twice.
The wounded musician drove away and hit another car, causing him to lose control and hit a tree, the newspaper reported.
Dube's recording company, Gallo Records, paid tribute to its star, the newspaper reported, quoting CEO Ivor Haarburger as noting that Dube had a bigger following internationally than in South Africa.