South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was planning a future with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, according to his uncle.

"We are in a state of total shock - firstly about the tragic death of Reeva who we had all got to know well and care for deeply over the last few months," Anthony Pistorius said.

"They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time," he said in a statement released by his nephew's agent.

Mr Pistorius, 26, was charged yesterday with murdering Ms Steenkamp in the early hours of the previous day.

He broke down during a 40-minute bail hearing at a Pretoria court, but was not asked to enter a plea.

Prosecutors alleged the shooting was premeditated, a charge that could put Mr Pistorius behind bars for life if he is convicted.

Anthony Pistorius reiterated the family's belief that the athlete - a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics - had not deliberately shot Ms Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model.

Initial reports suggested he may have mistaken her for an intruder.

Meanwhile, South Africa's state broadcaster SABC planned to air a reality TV show featuring the model.

A portion of the show released earlier included a clip of her swimming with two dolphins, which tap her on the cheek with their snouts.