Top 10 Nigerian Celebrities Who Lost Their Lives In 2023

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The year 2023 marked a somber period for Nigeria’s entertainment industry as it bid farewell to several beloved celebrities. From iconic actors and actresses to rising stars in music and film, the losses were deeply felt across the nation. These individuals had not only captivated audiences with their talent but had also become cultural icons, leaving an indelible mark on Nigeria’s rich artistic landscape. In this article by Naijassador, we pay tribute to the top 10 Nigerian celebrities who tragically lost their lives in 2023, highlighting their contributions, legacies, and the impact of their untimely departures.

1. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe (January 9th)

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, a titan of Nigerian cinema, left an undeniable mark. “Queen of Nollywood films,” she helmed the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), showcasing African cinema to the world. A lawyer by training, her passion resided in film. She even directed music videos for P-Square, a pioneering act. Anyiam-Osigwe’s relentless advocacy for Nollywood on international stages and her commitment to improving film quality through initiatives like the “100 Films Project” solidified her legacy as a visionary leader who tragically passed away in 2023 at the young age of 53.

2. Sunday Akanbi Akinola (January 9th)

Veteran actor Sunday Akanbi Akinola, popularly known as “Feyikogbon,” passed away on the same day as Peace Anyiam-Osigwe at the age of 80. A renowned face in Yoruba theatre for decades, especially with his role as “Mogaji” on the long-running NTA series, Akinola’s passing marked the end of an era.

3. Femi Ogunrombi (January 14th)

Femi Ogunrombi, the comedic genius behind the beloved character “Papa Ajasco,” was a cornerstone of Nigerian comedy. For decades, Ogunrombi brought laughter to audiences with his unique blend of physical humour and witty dialogue. His sudden passing at 60 in 2023 left a void in the entertainment industry. Ogunrombi’s legacy extends far beyond Papa Ajasco, as he played a significant role in shaping Nigerian comedy and inspiring future generations of comedians.

4. Ojo Arowosafe (March 7th)

Ojo Arowosafe, known by his stage name Fadeyi Oloro, was a titan of Yoruba theatre. Born in 1957, his career blossomed in the 1980s and 1990s. He excelled at portraying fearsome characters, leaving audiences captivated. Arowosafe’s dedication extended beyond acting – he was a storyteller at heart. Though he battled health issues later in life, his passion for the craft never dimmed. His passing in March 2023 left a void in the Nigerian entertainment industry, but his legacy as a powerful actor and cultural icon endures. He died at the age of 66 after a brief illness.

5. Obinna Nwafor (May 7th)

Obinna Nwafor, known by his stage name Saint Obi, was a promising actor who emerged in the Nigerian film industry during the Nollywood boom. Born in 1965, his career began with a Peugeot commercial and blossomed into roles in popular movies like “Take Me to Maama” and “State of Emergency.” Tragically, Saint Obi’s life was cut short in May 2023 at the young age of 57. The cause of death remains private, but his talent and potential left a lasting impression on fans and colleagues alike.

6. Murphy Afolabi (May 14th)

Popular Yoruba actor and filmmaker Murphy Afolabi’s death came as a shock. Just days after celebrating his 49th birthday, Afolabi passed away following a fall. He was known for his roles in movies like “Omo Rapala.”

7. Chikezie Uwazie (May 14th)

Another loss on May 14th was Nollywood actor Chikezie Uwazie. Uwazie reportedly passed away after undergoing brain surgery in the United States. His talent and dedication to his craft will be remembered.

8. Ilerioluwa Aloba (Mohbad) (September 12)

Ilerioluwa Aloba, known by his stage name Mohbad, was a rising star in Nigerian music tragically cut short on September 12, 2023. A talented rapper, singer, and songwriter, Mohbad was particularly known for his hits “Ponmo,” “Peace,” and “KPK (Ko Por Ke),” which earned award nominations. Signed to Naira Marley’s Marlian Records before going independent, his vibrant energy and catchy music left a lasting impression on Afrobeats fans around the world. His death was a blow to the Nigerian music scene, especially among his fans.

9. Dejumo Lewis (December 23rd)

Dejumo Lewis was a Nigerian screen icon, who embodied royalty for a nation. Though he started behind the scenes, his charisma shone through. Lewis’s defining role was the Kabiyesi, the wise king in “The Village Headmaster,” Nigeria’s longest-running soap opera. For two decades (1968-1988), Lewis brought dignity and authority to the character, becoming a beloved figure in Nigerian households. He passed away at 80, leaving behind a legacy of excellence that mirrored the evolution of Nigerian television.

10. Musiliu Ajikanle (July 31st)

Though his death didn’t occur in the latter half of the year, it’s important to remember Nollywood veteran Musiliu Ajikanle, who passed away in July 2023 after a long battle with stroke. Ajikanle was a prolific actor and a mentor to many in the Yoruba film industry.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many Nigerian celebrities who left us in 2023. Their talent, passion, and contributions to the entertainment industry will continue to inspire future generations.

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