Remembering the Celebrities Nigerians Lost in 2023
Though hard to say goodbye to them, here are some celebrities we lost this year. These celebrities may be gone, but they are far from forgotten.
We pause for a moment of reflection as another year concludes to honour the notable celebrities who said goodbye for the last time this year.
Losing singer Ilerioluwa Aloba, fondly known as Mohbad, was a huge blow to Nigerians especially because his passing on September 12, 2023, was highly unexpected. The 27-year-old singer gave us hits back to back during his short time in the music industry after his big break. Singing lines from his songs like “Ko pe ke” or “Wetin be this one like this?” would never be far from our mouths.
His catchy tunes and laid-back personality during interviews would continue to be revered. Even in the ongoing fight for justice over his untimely demise, we continue to remember him for his impact.
2. Cynthia Okereke
Nollywood lost influential actress, Cynthia Okereke, this year as announced by her colleague Joseph Okechukwu. She was 63 years old when she died and will be remembered for her iconic roles in movies over the years, especially in the ever-funny Osuofia in London. She also starred in movies such as Reggae Boys, Nwando, the iconic movie A Fool at 40, and Katakata, amongst many others. Okereke’s death came as a shock to many and even though she will be missed, we seek solace in the legacy she left behind.
3. Femi Ogunrombi, aka Papa Ajasco
Our childhoods would have never been the same without tapping our heads and saying “Oh Jibijibijibi” like Papa Ajasco used to. This year we also said goodbye to Femi Ogunrombi who played Papa Ajasco, he died in January 2023 and his passing was announced by Shaibu Husseini, a theatre practitioner and journalist, in a tweet.
He played the stand-in ‘Papa Ajasco’ when Abiodun Ayoyinka pulled out of the show
He played the stand-in ‘Papa Ajasco’ when Abiodun Ayoyinka pulled out of the show.
4. Don Brymo Uchegbu
Legendary actor Don Brymo Uchegbu, best known for his roles as a royal in movies, died after he slumped while shooting a film in Ahoada, Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. He suffered a stroke from high blood pressure and passed away after being rushed to the hospital.
5. Saint Obi
Famous Nollywood actor and film director, Obinna Nwafor, fondly known as Saint Obi, died at the age of 57 on May 6, 2023, after a prolonged battle with an illness. The Nollywood star passed away in his sister’s home in Jos, Plateau State capital. The iconic actor was revered among his fans and stood out in Nollywood, providing hits upon hits for years.
Following his passing, condolences poured in from his fans for his family.
6. Adedigba Mukaila
The Yoruba Nollywood industry also suffered a huge blow when popular actor Adedigba Mukaila, also known as Sikiru Adeshina, died on May 13, 2023. The news of his death was announced by the actor, Kunle Afod on social media. Adegbigba was very popular among the fans of Yoruba movies and his passing came as a rude shock, however, he will be fondly remembered for his roles.
7. Murphy Afolabi
Speaking of loved Yoruba actors who passed away, we cannot forget Murphy Afolabi and his timeless acting. He poured his heart and soul into his roles and his passing came as a shock as well.
Afolabi passed away on May 14, 2023, within the same time frame as Adedigba Mukaila and Saint Obi, further compounding Nollywood’s loss at the time. Afolabi’s colleagues, fans, and loved ones were thrown into mourning after his death was announced.
8. Chief Ojo Arowosafe, aka Fadeyi Oloro
We also lost another veteran Nollywood actor, Ojo Arowosafe, popularly known as Fadeyi Oloro, this year. He died on March 7, 2023, after a protracted illness at age 66. The sad news was announced by the actor and comedian, Bayegun Oluwatoyin aka Woli Arole, via his Instagram account.
Fadeyi Oloro was one of the notable faces in Yoruba Nollywood [TVC]
9. Oluyemi Lawrence Adeyemi, aka Suara
Pa Yemi Adeyemi, aka, Suara also passed away this year. The news was announced by his son, Adetoun Adeyemi, in an official statement on September 25. His impactful career will be remembered, most especially his iconic role as Saura in the popular old series Super Story: Oh Father! Oh Daughter where he played a polygamist with popular actresses Bukky Wright and Sola Sobowale as his first and second wives respectively.
10. Usman Pategi, aka Samanja
We also lost Kannywood legend Usman Pategi, who became popular playing Samanja in the defunct NTA drama series titled Samanja back in the 80s. He was born May 20, 1942 and died in November 2023, making him 81 years old when he passed. The news of his death was announced by a theatre consultant named Husseini Shaibu via his Facebook page, though the cause of his death was not announced.
The series Samanja was focused on the life of soldiers in the barracks, and Usman will be remembered fondly.
11. Cindy Amadi
Nigerian actress, Cindy Amadi, who is known for her role as Adaora in the controversial lesbian-themed movie titled Ife, died on September 14. The news was confirmed by the producers of the movie in a statement on their Instagram page, expressing their deep sorrow.
Amadi was a talented actress who brought her magic to the set, forever changing the lives of those she worked with.
Even though Cindy Amadi has gone to rest, the director of the movie ‘Ife’ is determined to produce a part 2 in her honour.