Sam Sarpong Jr., the former co-host of MTV’s “Yo Momma,” died on Monday (Oct. 26) in Pasadena, Calif., of an apparent suicide. The actor and model was 40.
“It is with great sadness that the family of Samuel ‘Sam’ Sarpong, Jr. must share the news that Sam has passed away,” Sarpong’s publicist said in a statement Wednesday. “The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation and no additional details are known at this time.”
The statement continued, “The family appreciates the thoughts, prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request their privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time.”
Us Weekly reports that a representative from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner - Coronor has confirmed Sarong died after jumping off a bridge. According to Deadline, the Pasadena Police Department said they received a witness report on Monday of an adult male standing on the Colorado Bridge in Pasadena.
“While conversing with the individual, members of his family arrived and provided background regarding his emotional state. Tragically, after approximately seven hours of communication, the male jumped from the bridge,” the police statement reads.
Sarpong’s former “Yo Momma” co-host, Wilmer Valderrama, took to Instagram on Wednesday night to pay tribute to his friend with a touching message.
“I am so sad & so confused,” Valderrama wrote. “Sam did it all, believed in dreaming bigger than anyone around him.. We made memories together that will last us forever, thank you for sharing your talent with me and the world.. You were a light everywhere you went and I couldn't be more proud of the journey you traveled.. You just left us too early Sam.. We will miss you and pray for you.. Once again thank you for all those years you dedicated to our show, we couldn't have done it without you! Find your peace my brother!”
Valderrama continued by imploring anyone “in a dark place” to reach out for help.
“And to everyone in a dark place.. PLEASE, please talk to someone.. Anyone,” he wrote. “Trust me that we WILL listen.. You are not alone, there are so many people that feel the same darkness, let's help one another, let us shine hope on all those that need our understanding!! Reach out to someone and make your first step towards living a life you deserve. My prayers and heart are with family and friends that were blessed to know his beautiful soul. #RIPSamSarpong”
Sarpong was born in London and began his career as a model, working for several high-profile brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton and Versace. He went on to co-host MTV’s “Yo Momma” with Valderrama for three seasons, and also hosted the BET Awards pre-show “All Access.”
Sarpong’s acting resume includes the movies “Anchor Baby,” “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” and “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” as well as appearances in hit shows like “24,” “ER” and “Veronica Mars.” He also had a recurring role in “Bones” last season and is set to appear in FX’s upcoming “American Crime Story: The Story Of O.J. Simpson.”
“Sam Sarpong was a kind and funny person who we loved working with,” MTV said in a statement. “He had a wonderful spirit. Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to his family at this time.”