Mr Ibu: Nollywood actor John Okafor dies in Lagos

Nigerians are mourning popular Nollywood actor John Okafor, better known as Mr Ibu, who has died at the age of 62.

“I announce with [a] deep sense of grief that Mr Ibu didn’t make it,” said Actors Guild of Nigeria President Emeka Rollas on Saturday.

He said the actor had a cardiac arrest.

Okafor rose to fame two decades ago in the film Mr Ibu – which became his nickname. It is still regarded as one of the best Nigerian performances in a comic role.

He went on to star in dozens more Nollywood films including Keziah, 9 Wives and Mr Ibu in London.

“Rest well, sir,” said actress Mercy Johnson-Okojie in her tribute. Law professor and former UN rapporteur Joy Ezeilo said the actor was a “beloved” figure who “brought laughter to many”.

According to local reports, Okafor died at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos state.

The actor’s health issues first came to public attention last year. One of his legs was amputated in November after fans donated to a crowd-funding scheme for his medical bills.

Since then, his son Daniel Okafor and adopted daughter Jasmine Chioma have been arrested on suspicion of hacking into his phone and taking $60,700 (£47,800) for themselves.

The pair have not commented since their arrest in January and are expected to appear in court on 11 March for the next hearing.

Okafor last years were “tumultuous”, Nigeria’s Punch newspaper said, with the actor claiming to have survived several attempts to poison him.

Local media say he is survived by his 13 children.

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