Abrupt departure from the stage: Ghanaians who died at the peak of popularity

Source The Ghana Report

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace”. 

But for the living, it is a tragedy when death comes for these men and women before their time.

There are some Ghanaians whose deaths shocked the nation, breaking many hearts, particularly considering the moments in their lives when tragedy struck.

These individuals from politics, media, sports, and entertainment had amassed a huge following with their exceptional skills, character, and charismatic personalities.

However, they exited the stage abruptly when the applause and cheers for them were still loud. They left when the spotlight was still on them and their stars were shining brightest.

As tragic as these deaths may be these individuals made considerable contributions in their various fields during their somewhat short stay on earth leaving euphonious memories and legacies that will be remembered for years to come.

Here, The Ghana Report takes a look at some Ghanaians who died at the peak of their popularity.

  • Benjamin Shamo Quaye
Shamo Quaye (Middle)

Quaye was a footballer who earned the nickname ‘Shamo Wonder’, ‘Bebeto’, and ‘Shamo Leather’ for his graceful footwork and dazzling passes on the field.

He was part of Ghana’s squad for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain that secured a bronze medal,

Undoubtedly one of the most skilled Ghanaian footballers of all time, Shamo Quaye was only destined to get better in time, but unfortunately, time was not his friend.

The star died under mysterious circumstances when he was just 26 years old in November 1997.

Quaye was then a player for Swedish side Umea.

Before joining the Sweden league, he played for Accra Hearts of Oak and the Saudi side, Al-Qadisiya Al Khubar.

  • Prof Evans Atta Mills


President Mills was a politician and legal scholar who served as President of Ghana from 2009 until he died in 2012.

He was previously the Vice-President from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry Rawlings.

The former president was known as a peace-loving man, with his statesmanship and years of dedicated service to his country.

He died on July 24, 2012, at the 37 Military Hospital three days after his 68th birthday.

  • Ebony Reigns


Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng known by her stage name Ebony Reigns, was a bright light in the Ghanaian music industry.

Posthumously earning the VGMA Artiste of the Year has to be the biggest indicator that Ebony died at the exact apex of her career.

Ebony Reigns was, unfortunately, killed in a road accident on 8 February 2018, eight days before her 21st birthday, whilst returning from Sunyani to Accra after a visit to her mother.

Her death coincided with the time she was fast gaining international recognition for her hit songs like Maame Hw3, Poison, and Sponsor.

  • Terry Bonchaka

On October 29, 2003, the hiplife artiste died tragically in a car accident after a performance at the University of Ghana sending music lovers into shock.

At the time of his death, Terry Bonchaka born Terrence Nii Okang Mensah Adjetey was one of the most popular performers in the country.

With hit songs like Pulele, Ghana Lady, Asem Ben Ni, and his signature one-legged Pulele dance, he won the hearts of a lot of Ghanaians.

Unfortunately, he departed from the earth, at age 21, when many could say his star was shining the brightest, leaving behind a name that will be mentioned in hiplife for a long time to come.

  • Kwame Owusu Ansah

The radio broadcaster, poet, Public Relations Consultant, and teacher turned actor tragically lost his life in an accident in 2008, aged 40.

His death broke the hearts of many Ghanaians who had grown to love the man who constantly graced their screens in about 60 major movies.

Kwame Owusu Ansah was one of the few Ghanaian actors at the time who featured in some major Nollywood hits.

  • Suzzy Williams

Ghana’s sweetheart and screen goddess, Suzzy Williams was a well-known actress adored by many due to her daring roles.

She unfortunately died in a car crash at Labadi in Accra in 2005 at the age of 23.

Because of her popularity, Ghana’s Art Centre refused to allow her body to lie in state, fearing it would be unable to accommodate the large numbers of mourners expected.

  • Castro
Castro Underfire

Theophilus Tagoe known by his stage name Castro was a force to reckon with on the Ghanaian music scene.

Coming into the spotlight in the early 2000s, the Boneshaker crooner made music that became many Ghanaians’ favorites.

On July 6, 2014, Castro was reported to have drowned at age 32 following a jet ski accident in Ada while on a holiday with the Gyan brothers.

A thorough search of the area never found his body. To this day, some believe Castro is still alive.

  • Robert Mensah

On November 2, 1971, goalkeeper Robert Mensah was stabbed to death with a broken bottle in his attempt to separate two fighting friends at a Tema drinking bar.

Considered the best Ghanaian goalie of his day, his death at the peak of his popularity deeply touched the nation’s heart.

Before his death, he was adjudged runner-up in the African Football Player of the Year award in the same year. A year before, he was voted as the 9th best African football player by French football publication France-Football.

Robert Mensah is also the subject of a popular folk song.

These accolades testified to Mensah’s brilliance on the field.

  • Bob Santo

John Evans Kwadwo Bosompem professionally known as Santo or Bob Santo was a comedian and actor who featured in almost every Twi-speaking movie in the 1990s and early 2000s.

He rose to fame with the Keysoap Concert Party doing stand-up comedy.

At age 67, Santo passed on after suffering from a brief illness.

  • Komla Dumor


BBC journalist Komla Dumor was constantly making Ghanaians proud in his position with the British Broadcaster until his untimely death.

Starting from Joy FM, Komla rose high to a position with the BBC and became well-known around the world.

He served as the main presenter for the BBC ‘Focus on Africa’ programme.

Whilst still at the peak of his career, Komla suddenly died on January 18, 2014, aged  41.

He reportedly suffered a heart attack in his London home after working the previous day.

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