Sabah quake: Mountain guide Robert Sapinggi remembered as kind, friendly and funny

Robert Sapinggi was killed at Mount Kinabalu in Friday's earthquake that has so far claimed 11 lives. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK 
Robert Sapinggi was killed at Mount Kinabalu in Friday's earthquake that has so far claimed 11 lives. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK 

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Mountain guide Robert Sapinggi joined Coalition Duchenne four times to scale Mount Kinabalu but he will not be joining the organisation for its next climb.

Sapinggi was killed at Mount Kinabalu in Friday's earthquake that has so far claimed 11 lives.

He was described as someone who was kind, friendly and funny, and who loved being a mountain guide.

"Robbi loved his job, and he loved being a mountain guide. His safety briefings were comprehensive, and he took them very seriously. Robbi loved meeting new people, he was kind and funny, and made everyone laugh," Coalition Duchenne executive director Cath Jayasuriya.

Coalition Duchenne brings together organisations around the world in a quest to raise global awareness on Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

"He always put the needs of others before himself," said Jayasuriya, who is from Sabah but based in the United States now.

She even recalled an incident with Sapinggi when he gave her his gloves and jacket because she was feeling cold as they approached the summit in the rain.

"Robbi gave me his gloves and his jacket to wear, leaving him just in a T-shirt. That was just the kind of person he was. He really cared about the safety and comfort of all the climbers."

She said Coalition Duchenne would go on with its next Mount Kinabalu expedition on Aug 7-9, subject to clearance from authorities. Trails, accommodation and other facilities were damaged in the quake.

"The climb will go on. However, I don't know exactly what form it will take this year. But rest assured that we will still assemble in Borneo from Aug 7-9.

"We hope we can honour Robbi and all the boys and young men with Duchenne who Robbi cared so much about," said Jayasuriya.