By Ogbonna Amadi,Chidi Nkwopara, Benjamin Njoku, Jimoh Babatunde, Japhet Alakam & Prisca Sam-Duru
LAGOS—Ace multitalented actor Sam Loco Efe died yesterday in an hotel room in at Rapour Hotel, Amakaohai along Orlu road in Owerri, Imo state shortly after returning from location. He was in Owerri, to direct a film titled “Unknown Prophet”
Sam Loco was said to have asked the cast and crew of the new film to return to their hotel rooms, hoping to continue the shooting the following morning.
Sources told Vanguard yesterday that his colleagues who were worried when he didn’t come down for breakfast had alerted the hotel management and after banging on the door of his room, forced the door open only to discover his lifeless body on the bed.
There were conflicting reports as to the real state of health before his demise. While some said he was hale and hearty before his demise, others said he was ill while on the movie set.
Eye witness account said the Edo State born actor had gone to sleep after concluding the day’s shooting and was reported to have complained of a heart problem
Our reporter gathered that he had shared his usual jokes with colleagues before retiring to his room.
Sam Loco 66, died less than a month after the remains of another veteran actor Ashley Nwosu was laid to rest in his home town, in Umuahia
Actors Guild of Nigeria reacts
President of Actors Guild of Nigeria, Mr. Segun Arinze and Chairman, AGN, Enugu State chapter, Mr Ofiafuluagu Mbaka confirmed his death .
They described the late actor as “a gentleman and a seasoned actor,”adding that the industry has lost a rare gem.”
“It is very shocking and sad indeed. The industry has not finished mourning the sudden death of Ashley Nwosu, before another death occurred. I’m heart broken. I’m confused, I cannot talk now”, lamented Arinze.
Meanwhile Vanguard investigations revealed that Sam Loco, who had been sick for a while, was also hospitalized and later discharged before his death.
When Vanguard visited the scene yesterday afternoon, scores of sympathizers, who wore sad faces, were seen discussing the issue in hushed tones, while women wept openly.
All the staff that spoke to Vanguard on strict grounds of anonymity said, “You have heard the news. It is true he is dead but we are not in a position to tell how he died or what killed him”.
Continuing, the man said the late comedian checked into the hotel July 26, 2011, adding that a doctor had been visiting and treating him in the hotel.
“He was complaining about arthritis and asthma before he eventually died. He died at about 1.47 am Sunday morning”, the staff said.
Sam Loco is the father of entertainment —Charles Awurum
Mr. Charles Awurum said: “Sam Loco is the father of the entertainment industry. We are deeply worried about his death. There is no way we can be happy about his death”.
The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Gingiri Abubakar, in a telephone interview, confirmed the death of the ace comedian.
“He died in Rapour Hotel, Owerri, last night. He had been sick, hospitalized and discharged before his eventual death. We are in the process of going to the morgue. I will give you details later please”, the Imo police boss said.
The CP further disclosed that “no arrests has been made but the hotel manager and his personal assistant are presently talking with us”, adding that the command will properly probe the incident.
Sam Loco’s body has already been deposited in Aladinma hospital mortuary in Owerri.
Sam Loco Efe was a talented Nigerian— RMD
The Delta State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Barrister Richard Mofe Damijo said the death of the man who inspired him to study theatre arts was a shock and was surprised that “he had gone so soon. He was a fantastic talent and a detribalised Nigerian and a true Bendel man, He will be sorely missed. ”
RMD said he was glad to have shared the stage with him on a few occasions and he particularly influenced his decision to go into theatre.
He helped to propel my art —Charles Novia, actor and producer
I grew up in Benin City, watching Sam Loco on television. He played the role of Chief Ukata Bribri in a popular tv series ‘Hotel de Jordan’. His acting prowess over the years helped propel my art today both as an actor and producer. I’m sad I never got the chance to work with him but his work in Nollywood and on television leaves a rich legacy for many generations.
What’s happening in the entertainment industry?— asked Stella Damasus, actress
I’m in shock, after Christy Essien passed on, I do not know what is happening in the entertainment industry. We are yet to ascertain the cause of Sam Loco’s death.
I feel sad— Enebeli Enebuwa
I just heard the news, and I have been trying to get his relatives to confirm whether he is in coma or has passed on truly. I feel so bad because , we just lost Christy Essien some months ago.