'Roots' Actor Ji-Tu Cumbuka Dead at 77

| Celebrity

It's been reported that film and television actor Ji-Tu Cumbuka passed away last week at the age of 77. He was most well-known for his role as Wrestler in the 1970s miniseries Roots.

According to Deadline, Cumbuka's niece, Amber Holifield, posted a message to Facebook, revealing his death.

Holifield wrote, "I talk to my Uncle Ji-Tu last week after he spoke to his doctor and he told me wasn't going to be here much longer then a week. Once it registered what he was telling me, I ask him if he leaves then what do I do?? He said (as he would) 'Deal with it... I'm dealing with it' ... so l laugh and said you iiiss right!"

Her message continued, "Most people know my Uncle from all the movies and TV shows he's played on... I mainly just knew him as Uncle Ji-Tu or Unc. My Uncle has taught me soo much over the last few weeks alone about strength and dealing with things. After having his both legs amputated a few different times I can't can't remember him complaining once. I'd be so scared for him until I spoke to him only to find out he wasn't scared at all. That always helped."

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She then added, "In my Uncle Ji-Tu's final days until his final moments he was surrounded with love and support! It's was a blessing for all of us to be together in his final hour, and not to mention we pretty much stayed at the hospital with him, and boy did he enjoy our company. The nurses, maybe a different story... lol. He stayed strong and just as sweet as he wanted to be the entire time and that I will never forget that!!

Finally, she wrote, "I am so proud and blessed to be able to say that he is my uncle. Rest In Peace Uncle Ji-Tu you will always be loved and remembered!"

Cumbuka starred in numerous film and TV projects throughout the years, including Harlem Nights, with Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, and Bachelor Party.

In 2011, he published his autobiography, A Giant to Remember: The Black Actor in Hollywood.

This article was originally published by our partners at popculture.com.

Photo Credit: Twitter / @ErnestOnOdal

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