Dr. Thomas McAfee, who was set to begin a new job Tuesday beefing up the USC health system’s pool of physicians, died over the Labor Day holiday following an accident while on vacation in Africa.

McAfee, 58, had been dean of clinical affairs for UC San Diego Health Sciences and chief executive of UC San Diego Faculty Practice, part of the UC San Diego Health System. A UC San Diego spokeswoman said that the university had received word over the weekend that McAfee had died in Tanzania on Friday, but as of Tuesday afternoon still lacked details on what had happened.

USC last month named McAfee the first chief executive of its new Keck Medicine of USC Medical Foundation, which will be adding primary and specialty practices to the Keck Medicine network and will serve as the health system’s new home for acquired physician practices.

"Tom was a dear friend of mine and a respected colleague,” Thomas Jackiewicz, chief executive of USC Health, said in a statement. “His contributions to health care were numerous, and he was excited about the opportunity to begin a new chapter of his life and career helping us propel USC forward in its health-care growth. The world has lost a kind and talented individual far too soon."

Before coming to San Diego in 2002, McAfee held a variety of academic and private practice medical positions in the San Francisco Bay Area, including stints at University of California-San Francisco, UC-Stanford Health Care and the Brown and Toland Medical Group.