This is not the best of times for the Nigerian movie industry, as it has yet lost another vibrant actress, Cynthia Okereke, to the cold hands of death, at the age of 63 years.
Okereke died almost one year after she was kidnapped alongside actor Clemson Cornel Nonyelu, popularly known as ‘Agbogidi’, while filming in Enugu, last year.
Confirming the sad news, Mr. Emma Onyemeziem, Chairman, Actors Guild of Nigeria, Delta State chapter, said Okereke died yesterday (Wednesday morning) in Enugu, after a brief illness.
His Enugu State counterpart, Mr. Ene Brown, also confirmed the sad news, saying the veteran actress had been suffering from High Blood Pressure and diabetes for some time now.
“She has been managing herself all this while,” he added.
In an emotional post on his Instagram page, filmmaker and actor, Joseph Okechukwu described the deceased as “an amazing, decent and lovely soul to be around”, adding that he’s shattered beyond words following Okereke’s sudden demise.
He wrote: “Rest in peace, Nwanyi oma. I’m shattered beyond words.
“The fact that I was about to pay for your flight ticket to come to finish what we started only to hear you went to be with Lord just last night is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to deal with in recent times.
“I pray I’m able to recover from this shock. Life is really just a mist. One minute you have it, the next you don’t. For the more than 20 years that I’ve known you, you’ve been such an amazing, decent and lovely soul to be around.
“I never imagined you’d exit so unceremoniously. Words fail me. Sleep on, Cynthia. May your gentle soul rest on till we meet again in glory.”
Recall that the actress was kidnapped in Enugu alongside her colleague, Clemson Cornell on July 29, 2022, while returning from a movie location at Ozilla town in Enugu state. They were later released unhurt by their abductors days after they were declared missing.
It’s, however, believed that the actress rarely overcame the traumatic experience until death.
Okereke’s demise is the latest in the industry that has seen some of its finest actors pass on in recent times. They included the likes of Saint Obi, Don Brymo, Murphy Afolabi, Femi Ogunrobi a.k.a Papa Ajasco and Chikezie Uwazie.
Born in 1960, Cynthia made her acting debut in 1998, after her performance in the film “King Jaja of Opobo,” which brought her into the limelight.
She also gained more prominence in the industry after her role as Sofia in the film “Osofia in London,” which she shared with Nkem Owoh. She featured in other movies such as “Hidden Tears,” “Sound of Love,” “Coronation,” “Second Burial,” “Lion Finger,” “Second Chance,” among others.
Meanwhile, the likes of actress Rita Edochie, Angela Okorie, Emem Isong among others have taken to their Instagram pages to mourn Okereke’s demise.
Edochie wrote, “Too bad to hear this. Journey on my great sister till we meet again to path no more.”
Expressing shock, Angela Okorie wrote, “Oh no, while Emem Isong described Okereke’s demise as “ a sad news.”