THE SUNDAY MAIL sportswriter, Roy Matiki, received a befitting send-off as scores of people thronged Warren Hills Cemetery yesterday to pay their last respects to the journalist yesterday.
Matiki died on Sunday morning at his parents' home in Budiriro 5 after succumbing to brain tumor.
He was 35.
Sunday Mail Editor, Brezhnev Malaba, described Matiki as a hardworking and committed journalist who worked under any conditions.
"The late Matiki was a hardworking journalist who worked tirelessly for the publication," said Malaba.
"The passing on of a colleague who would go an extra mile to see that the he gets his stories saddens us. The gap he has left will be difficult to replace."
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists acting president, Michael Chideme, described the death of Matiki as another sad chapter for the media fraternity.
"We are saddened by the passing on of a colleague who would work under any situation to get information," said Chideme.
"To many in the industry, Roy was an outstanding journalist who went an extra mile to tell the story from his own perspective.
"He was a quiet and humble journalist whose hallmark was respect for the others. He will be sadly missed.
"We will try to help the family of the late journalist as he was one of us.
"This has been a very bad year for us as journalists. In this year alone, we have lost several colleagues and comrades. The union stands in solidarity with the Matiki family and Zimpapers during this difficult period."
Warriors' cheerleader, Chris "Romario" Musekiwa, who attended the burial, said he had lost a good friend.
"I had known Matiki for several years since his days at ZBC," said Musekiwa. We travelled together a lot while he was carrying out his duties and anyone who knew him well will tell you that he was a very sociable character who could make friends easily. One thing that I liked most about him was that he was passionate about his job and I think his death is a big loss to the journalism family."
The Sports Commission also expressed their condolences.
SRC corporate communications manager, Tirivashe Nheweyembwa, said Matiki was a great supporter, through his pen, of their development programmes.
"The SRC learnt with a deep sense of shock over the unexpected death of Roy Matiki," said Nheweyembwa.
"Roy was a great supporter of our programmes such as the YES programme, Zimbabwe National Youth Games, Annual National Sport Awards, Community Sport Development Programme and the Zimbabwe National Paralympic Games.
"The respect and understanding that these programmes command today is as a result of the work that Roy did in publicising them.
"Indeed, Roy was a hard worker par excellence and a dependable journalist who sought to dig deeper into the issues at hand and as the SRC we are poorer without him.
"It goes without saying that even in very difficult circumstances Roy Matrix (as he was affectionately known) would not demand five-star treatment.
"Roy had a rare interest in grassroots sport and for that we shall forever cherish the great and unparalleled work that he did.
"On behalf of the SRC Board, Management, Staff and the entire sporting community, we would like to express our deep condolences to the Matiki family and more importantly to his wife and child.
"May she take solace in that we are with her during these difficult moments."
Coca-Cola also joined the Matiki family and the Zimbabwean media fraternity in mourning Matiki.
Matiki was the reigning COPA Coca-Cola Believe Award Press Winner for 2012.
"He was an oasis of knowledge with facts and figures for sport in general and COPA Coca-Cola in particular," the company said in a statement.
"Matiki, was a passionate colleague, who was present at most COPA Coca-Cola launches, provincial and national finals. His last finals were at Victoria Falls in July this year. He capped this by winning the 2012 Coca-Cola Believe Award, which saw him accompanying the Zimbabwean Under-16 COPA Coca-Cola team for two weeks in South Africa."
Matiki is survived by his wife and two children Tawanda and Tafara.