16 celebrity deaths that shook Nollywood in 2017

Nollywood actress, Iya Kike.

Nollywood lost some of its brightest stars in 2017, with the Yoruba film industry losing three within 30 days.

On a closer look, Nollywood lost some veterans because they were unable to raise funds to treat themselves.

These stars may be no more but their legacies live on thanks to their numerous memorable movie roles and productions.

Here, PREMIUM TIMES remembers 16 Nollywood acts lost to the cold arms of death in 2017.


1 The Yoruba movie industry recorded its first death of 2017 on January 2 when Toyin Majekodunmi aka Iya Kike, died.

She was the first Nigerian entertainer to pass on in 2017.

Married to a fellow actor, Solomon Majekodunmi aka ‘Baba Kekere’ for 37 years, she was a delight on stage and in movies. She had three children – two daughters and a son.

She also featured in numerous Yoruba movies and often starred alongside her husband. Prior to launching her movie career, she worked with the Lagos State Ministry of Information for many years.


2. Popular Kannywood movie producer, Ibrahim Bauni, died on February 17 after a brief illness.

Mr. Bauni spent 20 years in Kannywood film industry and had produced films like ‘Kalubale’, ‘Harafin So’, ‘Rumaisa’, ‘Sarauniya’, among others.


3. After a protracted battle with diabetes and kidney ailment, veteran Nollywood actor, James Uche, died on March 8.

He passed on in an ambulance while on the way to undergo dialysis. The actor passed on two days to his scheduled trip to India for a kidney transplant and eye surgery in India.

He was bedridden for several months and was in dire need of an urgent kidney transplant and eye surgery. He had been ill for eight years.

He was down with high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney failure. The actor was famous for his role in Nollywood blockbusters like Igodo, Coronation, Lost Kingdom and The Councillor.


4. A fast-rising Nollywood actress, Modupe Oyekunle, died on April 5 after giving birth to her third child, a girl.

Her baby survived. Popularly called Oyinbo because of her complexion, the actress played a prominent role of Sandra in Segun Ogungbe’s blockbuster movie, Ibi Giga, among other movies she has acted in.

She was a member of Igi Aloye caucus in Abeokuta, which produced the likes of Odunlade Adekola.

5.Veteran Nollywood actor, Olumide Bakare, died on April 22 after a failed battle with a heart and lung disease.

Mr. Bakare was sick for over a year and reports say aside from suffering low blood flow into the heart, there were also indications of a lung-related disease.

He suffered cardiac arrest earlier in the year and was rushed to the emergency unit of University College Hospital where he was placed in intensive care.

Mr. Bakare, 65, was famous for his role as Chief Koko in the rested TV series, Koko Close. A crossover actor, he also starred alongside Genevieve Nnaji and Hollywood’s Isaiah Washington in Tony Abulu’s 2013 film, Doctor Bello.


6. Seasoned Yoruba actor, Samuel Adesanya, popularly called Pastor Ajidara, died on May 7.

Mr. Ajidara, 62, died of kidney failure. His family had called for financial support of N12 million from the public, following his doctor’s recommendation that he would need a kidney transplant to survive.

This was a few days to his death. Ironically, Mr. Adesanya was owed about N4 million by the Ogun State government as a retiree of Ogun State Judiciary.

He retired from the service on July 2, 2015‎ but was yet to get his retirement benefit till he died. Until his death, Mr. Adesanya was the Governor of Ogun State Chapter of Theatre Art and Movie Producers Association of Nigeria, TAMPAN.

7. Popular Yoruba movie actress, Moji Olaiya, passed on in Canada barely two months after she welcomed a child.

She died on May 17 after she reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest.The 42-year-old star actress was the daughter of legendary Nigerian highlife maestro, Victor Olaiya.

She welcomed her first child in Canada a few months after she officially divorced her first husband. Her death came as a rude shock because her last post on Instagram was less than 24 hours.

She is best known for her roles in films such as No Pains No Gains, in which she played Ireti, Sade Blade (2005), Nkan adun (2008) and Omo Iya Meta Leyi (2009). She also starred in the Agunbaniro.


8. Victor Eze Okwuchukwu, who played Alika in the popular TV series, “Fuji House of Commotion,” passed away on Sunday, June 25, 2017, after a long battle with stroke.

The late Eze was an actor, dancer and writer, known for “Stigma” (2013), “Widows,” “Beyond Reason,” “Baby Guards 2” (2005), “Changing Faces,” and “Together as One” (2003).


9. A renowned journalist, poet and actor, Adebayo Faleti, passed away on July 23, 2017, at the age of 86.

He was a renowned journalist in his prime having taken up top management positions at the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) in the role of a General Manager and also as the Film Editor and Librarian at the National Television Authority (NTA), Ibadan, Oyo State.

He was laid to rest on Friday, September 8, 2017.


10. Popular for his role in “Conspiracy,” Obi Madubogwo announced in 2016 that he was in need of public support for his health.

He had just come out of coma after a toxic battle with a diabetic wound, and was in need of financial support for a surgery, tests and medications to avoid amputation of his leg.

Unfortunately, the actor died on August 28, 2017 and was laid to rest on November 10, 2017.


11. Alhaji Kasimu Yero

The “Cock Crow At Dawn” actor passed away at the age of 70.

He died at his house on Sunday, September 3, 2017, in Kaduna State after a protracted illness.

His son Masur Yero confirmed his death. The veteran was buried after the funeral prayers that took place at the Sultan Bellow Mosque according to Islamic rites.

12. Comic actor, Okwy Chukwujekwu, popularly known as Main Bossman, passed away in September.

The “Men of Wisdom” actor passed away in Anambra State, following an asthma attack. Fellow actor, Odira Nwobu, confirmed his death.

Chukwujekwu was laid to rest on October 5.

13. Actor and movie producer known as Friday Ugwu was reported to have been involved in an accident along Lagos-Badagry express road in Ojo.

He was riding with one of his friends when a trailer suddenly lost control and ran over them and crushed them to death on the spot.

Ugwu, a native of Orokam in Ogbadibo LGA of Benue state, shot into limelight when he produced and played the lead role in the movie entitled Okaka De Don many years ago.


14.Yoruba Nollywood actress, Funke Abisogun-Alhassan, passed away in October.

According to actor Tunde Ola Yusuf, who shared the news on Instagram, the actress passed away a few days after being delivered of a baby.

An actress and a producer, Abisogun owned the production house Funke Abisogun Heritage Links, and was married to filmmaker, Taofeek Al Hassan Abisogun.


15. Nollywood actor, David Nwajei, also known as Davo died during the year.

His friends, Brumen John, Dona Power, among other took to social media to share the news.

While the news of his death spread on a Friday, he died on November 15th after a brief illness.


16. Tunde Oloyede, the producer and director of the defunct television drama series, Village Headmaster, reportedly died in his sleep at his residence in Festac Town, Lagos.

Mr. Oloyede was a former President of Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria. He was also the producer/director of popular TV drama series, Tightrope, amongst several other productions.

Until his death, Oloyede ran his own production outfit, “Media International Production”.

His wife, Bimbo Oloyede, is a veteran broadcaster and a guest newscaster on Channels Television.

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