The Nigerian entertainment industry had its share of highs and lows in 2023, with the demise of some of its brightest stars forming the bulk of the latter. Although these singers and movie stars, producers and art directors, amongst others are gone, they left lasting impressions that’ll keep their memories alive. We specifically take a look at some of the Nollywood actors who died in 2023.

Murphy Afolabi

11 Nollywood Actors Who Passed Away in 2023

Murphy Afolabi died on May 14, 2023, a few days after celebrating his 49th birthday.  The actor was a force in the Yoruba sub-group of Nollywood, featuring in  in over 100 movie productions. Some of his notable works include Olokiki Oru, Wasila Coded Reloaded and One Blood.

Iyabo Oko

11 Nollywood Actors Who Passed Away in 2023

Popularly known as Iyabo Oko, Nollywood actress Sidikat Odunkanwi died on June 28, 2023, aged 61. Oko was popular in Yoruba movies where she mostly took on comedic roles of a sharp-mouthed mother, aunt or wife.

Before her demise, the actress battled an undisclosed sickness, which caused her to take a long break from the industry. Some of her notable works include Aromimawe, Idunnu Okan and Mayowa.

Femi Ogunrombi

11 Nollywood Actors Who Passed Away in 2023

The actor briefly played the titular character of Papa Ajasco in Wale Adenuga’s comedy series. Ogunrombi passed away on January 14, 2023. Before his demise, he was the director of studies at Pencil Film and Television centre in Lagos.

Cynthia Okereke

The 63-year-old Nollywood actress passed away on July 11, 2023. According to the chairman of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (Delta State Chapter), Emma Onyemeziem, she died after a brief illness. Okereke was known for hercomic roles in movies alongside colleagues like Nkem Owoh. Some of her notable works include King Jaja of Opobo, Lion Finger and Second Chance.

Adedigba Mukaila

11 Nollywood Actors Who Passed Away in 2023

The Nollywood thespian known by his stage name Alafin Oro passedon May 13, 2023. He was popular in the  Yoruba faction of Nollywood, entertaining the audience with his roles as a traditionalist. Some of his notable works include Aye KootoSura Jamba and Aipejola.

Saint Obi

11 Nollywood Actors Who Passed Away in 2023

Before his demise, the veteran film star, who rocked the late 90s and early 2000s, took a break from acting, with fans pining to have him on their screens again. Unfortunately, Saint Obi bade the world goodbye on May 7, 2023, after battling an undisclosed illness. Over the course of his career,  he starred in over 60 Nollywood movies and produced his first movie, Take Me to Maama, in 2001. Some of his notable works include State of Emergency

Final Whistle and Sakobi the Snake Girl.

Dejumo Lewis

The veteran Nollywood actor passed away on December 23 at 80. Lewis was one of the leading figures in the movie industry who ruled the airwaves in the 1960s, and managed to crossover into modern day cinema. He was famous for his role as Kabiyesi in The Village Headmaster, Nigeria’s longest-running television soap opera (1968-1988) which aired on NTA. Some of his other works include Agogo EewoOtelemuye and A Place in The Stars.

Peace Anyam Osigwe

Peace Anyam Osigwe died at St Nicholas Hospital (Lagos) on January 9, 2023, following a heart attack. Although not a movie star, she was a leading woman in Nigerian cinema who was known for her stellar work with the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA). Osigwe was a filmmaker commonly referred to as the “queen of Nollywood films” because of how passionate she was about spreading the gospel of Nollywood.

Pat Nebo

The ace Nigerian production designer and art director died on 14 September 2023.

Nebo was not an actor, but he was an important figure behind the scenes, bringing some of the industry’s most iconic productions to life through his work as an art director and production designer. He was the production designer on October 1Being Mrs Elliot and Okafor’s Law. He was also credited as the art director for The Figurine, Phone Swap, and Half of a Yellow Sun.

Usman Baba Pategi

The retired soldier and veteran actor passed away on November 12, 2023, aged 84. Baba Pategi was one of the pioneers of the Kannywood movie industry, playing the lead role in Samanja a comedy series that aired on NTA Kaduna and Radio Kaduna in 1973.

Some of his other works include Malam Jatau na Albarkawa, Ka Bani Ka Baka, and Kafi Kwanan Azure.

Fadeyi Oloro

Popularly known by his fans and supporters as Fadeyi Oloro, the Nollywood actor died on March 7, 2023, aged 66. His daughter, Fasunwon Oluwafunke, broke the news of the actor’s death following a protracted battle with a terminal disease. He was loved by many for his iconic roles in Yoruba moviesas a traditional warlord or herbalist. Some of his notable works include Inubibi, Anike Olufa and Akoni Mefa.

Enjoyed reading about the 11 Nollywood actors who passed away in 2023? Read this next: My Childhood Memories Are Tied to “Mr Ibu”



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.