SINGAPORE - Beloved Malaysian actor and comedian Zaibo, best known for portraying mee rebus seller Yusof in the 1990s sitcom Under One Roof, died on Wednesday (Nov 14) from cancer. He was 62.
His wife, Ms Siti Hawa Sawal, 52, confirmed the news to The Straits Times, saying: "I'm so sad now. Give me time."
His family shared that Zaibo died in her house in Johor, surrounded by her and his two sisters.
He had been able to talk normally the day before, but at 12.30pm on Wednesday, he suddenly struggled to breathe. An ambulance was called, but by the time it arrived, his heart had stopped beating. He died at 1.30pm, said his family, and his funeral and burial will be held on Wednesday.
He leaves behind his wife and nine step-children.
Zaibo, whose real name was Zainal Ariffin Abdul Hamid, told The Straits Times two months ago that he had stage four oesophageal cancer, which had spread to his stomach, lungs and left rib cage.
He said: "I know at least six secondary schoolmates who have died. So if it is my turn, what is unusual about it?
"Everybody will go through this process, so there is nothing to be scared of."
When contacted, his former co-stars from Under One Roof expressed sadness at the news.
Vernetta Lopez, 45, said: "He was and always will be remembered as the most humble, funny and absolutely sweetest person ever."
The Mediacorp Gold 905 DJ added: "He was someone who was so talented with comedy, ever grateful for even the smallest thing, emotional as well, not afraid to show his softer side, was always happy to help anyone."
Former actor Nicholas Lee, 53, said: "I was standing in line at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and on a chat group discussion with other Under One Roof cast members about when we would be able to visit Zaibo when I received the news."
Lee, who is now chief executive officer of Group X, a group of video and event production companies, added: "There's an undefinable kind of joy when you are given the opportunity to work with people who are gifted with an amazing talent and Zaibo is definitely one of those people.
"His gift was to bring joy and laughter to all those around him and he will be missed so very, very much. RIP, my dear friend."