Sam Sarpong British actor and Tommy Hilfiger model dies aged 40
MTV host and Tommy Hilfiger model Sam Sarpong has tragically taken his own life aged just 40
The British-born star, who co-hosted MTV’s Yo Momma show alongside Wilmer Valderrama, leaped to his death from a bridge.
County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner confirmed the star had passed away yesterday in an apparent suicide attempt, according to US Weekly.
His management company, Advanced Management, issued a statement earlier today which read: ‘Devastated to hear that our friend and client @mrsamsarpong is no longer with us. Prayers and thoughts to the entire Sarpong family.’
Sarpong, the brother of popular British TV presenter June Sarpong, had been a sought after model and appeared in campaigns for Hilfiger as well as shows for top designers such as Gucci and Versace.
He also made fashion history by becoming the first black male model to do a Luis Vuitton editorial campaign.
The America-British later branched out into acting where he secured roles in television shows such as Veronica Mars and Bones.
Friends described Sam as being ‘the life of the party’, someone who loved life and would face every day with ‘a smile on his face.’
Sarpong moved to Los Angeles when he was 11 where he became a promising high school basketball star.
When his ambitions of playing professional fizzled out, he turned to acting and modelling where he became the face of Tommy Hilfiger for six years.
He also launched his own clothing line Future Stars, influenced by both British and Californian styles which reflect his dual citizen upbringing.
Sarpong, the brother of popular British TV presenter June Sarpong (pictured with him), had been a sought after model and appeared in campaigns for Hilfiger and Louis Vuitton as well as shows for top designers such as Gucci and Versace
The British-born star, who co-hosted MTV’s Yo Momma show alongside Wilmer Valderrama, leaped to his death from a bridge
He had previously attributed his success to his Ghanaian father.
‘I went from barely being able to pay my bills to now being an international model,’ he told Black Hollywood Live in July 2013. ‘I made a lot of money early. Luckily I had my father to guide me.’
He also had numerous television roles including Everybody Hates Chris, Cold Case, and a small upcoming role as a neighbor in FX’s American Crime Story.
But while his success grew, Sarpong remained humble.
‘I’ve never understood when people start believing their own hype,’ he told Brits Across the Pond.
‘I’ve been at different levels when you’re not working and nobody will call you back and your friends aren’t around because you aren’t going to the cool parties. Then there’s times when you’re on a hot show, your billboard is everywhere and everyone’s feeling you, so when things are good I really enjoy it but I never get caught up in it.’
The Sarpong family have certainly had their fair share of success. While Sam was doing gaining a name for himself in America, his sister June was blazing a trail in the world of television across the Pond.
She was also an MTV host for its UK channel and went onto become a presenter for the long-running Channel 4 teen show T4.
June has hosted numerous British TV programs and is a regular at the MOBO Awards while she also runs her own production company, Lipgloss Productions.
In recent years June, who was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to urban music, has appeared on talk show Loose Women as a regular panelist.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media for Sam.
Fox anchor Christine Devine said she was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the death of the star, who she described as being; ‘the life of the party.. an amazing energetic rapper, Tommy Hilfiger model, MTV host, actor.’
She also posted a picture of the star at one of the many charity events he was involved in.
‘The amazing Sam Sarpong… Giving his time to children in the hospital during Christmas. Sam, we miss you. RIP.’
His friend Lyriq Bent tweeted: ‘Extremely sad to hear the passing of my old friend. #rip #samsarpong. You will be missed.’
Nzinga Blake added: ‘My heart is so broken to hear the news about the passing of our dear friend and brother Sam Sarpong.’
While British TV presenter tweeted to his sister: ‘@junesarpong I wanted to send you a direct message but I am truly sorry to hear about Sam! My heart goes out to you & your family.’
Another friend, Richard Sanchez, posted: I found out my friend Sam Sarpong died today. When we were together we always talked about life, cracking jokes, laughing about random stuff, you where always enjoying life. Giving each other advice.
‘The funny thing is when we were each other we never really talked about the projects we were going to do with each other. He always had a smile on his face and the life of the party or where ever you were at. Sam was not just a close friend he was family. Sam you will not be forgotten. #samsarpong #rip.’
Jazen Anderson tweeted: ‘RIP Sam Sarpong! Unreal. Knew that dude for most of my life. Always positive, always hustling. Stay in touch with your loved ones man.’
• For confidential help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here
• For confidential support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here