Sadly, as the number of the coronavirus cases shoot up daily, the figure of well-known figures in the petroluem, medical, music, film, food and entertainment industries who are dying after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease resulting from the novel coronavirus, is also increasing.
This week, we are taking a look at some of these deceased famous faces and household names across the globe. The pandemic has led to the death of 86,000 people worldwide. And as at press time on Thursday April9, 2020, 44 had recovered in Nigeria, 276 infected and six deaths.
On March 23, 2020, the first Covid-19 death in Nigeria was recorded. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced it in a tweet, describing the victim as a 67-year-old man who had recently returned to Nigeria following medical treatment in the UK. The man was later identified as Suleiman Achimugu, an engineer and former Managing Director of Pipelines &; Products Marketing Company (PPMC)
Suleiman Achimugu, ex-PPMC boss, 67
Suleiman Achimugu, an engineer and former PPMC MD was Nigeria’s first coronavirus fatality. His family said Achimugu returned to Nigeria from the United Kingdom two weeks prior to showing symptoms of the virus.
Christogonus Osuagwu, hotelier
Christogonus Osuagwu was the owner of Fancy Hotel, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. He was said to have arrived the country from South Africa via Abuja. He visited Owerri, where he fell sick. Later, he returned to Abuja where he was said to have died of complications arising from the infection.
Alfa Sa’adu, medical doctor, 68
Alfa Suda, a prominent Nigerian doctor in the United Kingdom, lost his life to the novel coronavirus after treating many patients suffering from the disease on March 31. Dr Saadu’s death was mourned by the Nigerian community in London and by the people of his home state, Kwara. Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also mourned his passage on Facebook. The post shared by Saraki to mourn Dr Saadu reads: “Inalilahi Wa Ina Ilaehi Rajiun. My condolences go to the family of late Dr Alfa Sa’adu, the people of Pategi and Kwara State on the death of the foremost medical practitioner who passed away in London this morning (March 31).
“Late Dr Sa’adu provided leadership for our people in the Diaspora as he served for many years as chairman, Kwara State Association of Nigeria (Kwasang UK). Back at home, he was a community leader and traditional office holder as Galadima of Pategi. He will be sorely missed.
“We pray that Allah forgive his sins and grant him a place in Aljannah Firdaus. May Allah also grant his family, the people of Pategi and Kwara State the fortitude to bear the loss.”
86-year-old musician Manu Dibango
Superstar saxophonist, Manu Dibango, who was based in France until his death at a hospital on March 24, was 86 years old. The Cameroonian-born artist who romanced with jazzy became popular after moving to Paris and became well-known for his 1972 hit song “Soul Makossa.”
A post on his Facebook account confirmed that the musician died as a result of Covid-19 and stated that his funeral service will be a private affair, and a tribute to his memory will be organised when possible.
Real Madrid ex-President Lorenzo Sanz, 76
Real Madrid Football Club ex- President Lorenzo Sanz died on March 21, 2020 just days after being hospitalized after falling ill. He was tested for COVID-19 while in hospital and was confirmed positive before his death, due to kidney failure. He was 76.
Real Madrid won six trophies during the presidency of Lorenzo Sanz and the football team emphatically dominated the era with players like Mijatovic, Suker, Seedorf and Roberto Carlos, and coaches such as Fabio Capello and Vicente del Bosque.
He first became a director of the club in 1985 during the presidency of Ramón Mendoza, first as a member of the board of directors and then as Vice-President. In 1995, Mendoza resigned and the Madrid born Sanz became president. His family was also closely linked to the club and two of his sons actually played at the highest level for Real Madrid, Fernando in the football team and Lorenzo in the basketball team.
Sanz took charge of Los Blancos between 1985-1995 and was also owner of Malaga for a period of time before selling the club to a Qatari investor. He spent five years at the helm at the Santiago Bernabeu, during which the Los Blancos won two Champions League titles
His eldest son, Lorenzo, confirmed the news last Saturday, through his social media handler.
“My father has just died. He didn’t deserve this ending and in this manner. He was one of the best, brave and hardest-working men I have seen in my life. His family and Real Madrid were his passion. My mother and my siblings enjoyed every moment with him with pride. RIP,” he said.
TV presenter Zororo Makamba, 30
Zimbabwe’s popular radio and television presenter, Zororo Makamba, famous for his online social and political commentary, “State of the Nation”, died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. He died on March 23, two days after testing positive. His death from the coronavirus was the first to be recorded in the Southern African nation. He was 30.
Zororo had returned from New York with flu-like symptoms and was told by his doctor that it was a regular flu, according to a report by a national news media. But on Friday March20, his condition deteriorated and he was tested for coronavirus.
Lee Fierro, actress & coach, 91
Lee died on April 5. She was best known for her role as Alex Kintner’s mom in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 shark attack classic, “Jaws” She was 91. She breathed her last at an assisted living facility in Ohio where she resided.
“The one word I would think of when I think of Lee is dedication. I’ve watched her as a performer, director and businesswoman and then we became friends. She was my teacher and mentor,” said Kevin Ryan, artistic director and board president for Island Theatre Workshop, a programme Fierro supported during her 40-plus years living on Martha’s Vineyard. During her time with the Island Theatre Workshop, Ryan estimates Fierro taught more than 1,000 students and directed over 100 live productions during her time as artistic director.
Actor Mark Blum, 69
He was best known for playing opposite Madonna in the iconic 1985 film “Desperately Seeking Susan”. Sadly, he passed away on March 26, aged 69. He also featured in the 1986 hit “Crocodile Dundee,” and most recently he appeared as bookseller, Mr. Mooney, on the Netflix cult hit “You.” He was also a veteran of the Broadway stage.
Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, 70
Japanese comedian, Ken Shimur, who was much loved and adored in his country, died March 27, a week after contracting coronavirus. Shimura was hospitalized on March 20 after developing a fever and being diagnosed with pneumonia. He tested positive for the virus on March 23, becoming the first Japanese celebrity to announce his infection, and to die from the disease.
“He was popular among a wide range of generations and was the No. 1 source of pride for locals,” Minoru Hasegawa, 69, a fellow native of Shimura’s home city, told the Japan Times. He was set to run the Tokyo Olympic torch relay representing Higashimurayama in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that has been postponed till next year.
88-year- old actress Julie Bennett
Bennett’s talent agent confirmed to Fox News that the actress known as the voice of Cindy Bear in “The Yogi Bear Show,” died March 31. Aged 88, Bennett passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a week after she received her coronavirus diagnosis. She was best known for her voice work, reprising her role as Cindy for several television shows based on Yogi Bear, including the 1988 TV movie “Yogi & the Invasion of the Space Bears.”
84-year-old footwear designer Sergio Rossi
Famous footwear designer Sergio Rossi died on April 3. He was hospitalized for a few days in Cesena, Italy, prior to his passing, according to Footwear News.
“Sergio Rossi was a master, and it is my great honour to have met him and gotten to present him the archive earlier this year. His vision and approach will remain our guide in the growth of the brand and the business,” Riccardo Sciutto, CEO of the Sergio Rossi Group, wrote on the brand’s Instagram account to announce the news. Many celebrities in Hollywood wore Rossi’s designs, including Taylor Swift, Paris Hilton, Priyanka Chopra, Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Laura Dern, Ariana Grande to mention but a few.
Floyd Cardoz, 59
This Mumbai, India-born famous chef behind the celebrated New York City restaurants Tabla and Bombay Bread Bar, died March 25. He was 59.
Cardoz was admitted to a New York hospital, according to a recent post on his Instagram account, following his return from a trip to India on March 8. He told his followers that a fever had prompted him to see a doctor. The Season 3 winner of “Top Chef Masters” made his name with the groundbreaking Tabla, opened in 1998, as one of the few Indian fine-dining establishments in New York City in partnerships with Danny Meyer and Union Square Hospitality Group. The restaurant enjoyed an instant buzz after receiving three stars in the New York Times. Tabla closed in 2010 but remains one of the city’s most groundbreaking restaurants to this day, known especially for its bread.He also worked with Meyer in opening North End Grill, then went on to open several other eateries in India and New York.
Country singer Joe Diffie, 61
Joe Diffi, country singer, had a string of hits in the 1990s (Home and Pickup Man), died on March 29. He was 61. He announced two days prior that he had contracted the virus, becoming the first country star to go public with such a diagnosis. Diffie’s publicist Scott Adkins confirmed that the singer died in Nashville, Tennesses, due to complications from COVID-19.
76-year- actor Andrew Jack
The “Star Wars” actor and dialect coach Andrew Jack agent confirmed he died March 30 at Britain’s Surry Hospital. He was 76. He starred in famous hits like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” as Resistance General Caluan Ematt. He also worked as a dialect coach on films such as “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and many Marvel films, as well as the upcoming Batman movie starring Robert Pattinson.
Jay Benedict (Actor) 69
The “Aliens” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” actor, Jay Benedict, died on April 4. An announcement on his website states: “It is with profound sorrow that we must announce Jay’s death on the 4th of April due to complications arising from a COVID-19 infection,”. His agency, TSG, also shared the sad news “with great sadness,” saying, “Our thoughts are with his family.”
He appeared in a number of major films, including roles as Newt’s father in James Cameron’s “Aliens,” and as “rich twit” in the final film of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises.”