Sam Sarpong, former model and MTV co-host, dies at 40

Story highlights

Sarpong was the face of Tommy Hilfiger

Actor Wilmer Valderamma paid tribute to him

CNN  — 

Samuel Sarpong Jr., a former co-host of MTV’s “Yo Momma” and model, died Monday after jumping off the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, California, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner said. He was 40.

According to a statement from the Pasadena Police Department, a witness reported seeing a man standing on the outside of the railing of the Colorado Bridge on Monday morning. Officers responded to the scene and closed the area off.

While police were talking to Sarpong members of his family arrived, police said, and provided information on his emotional state to the authorities.

“Tragically, after approximately seven hours of communication, the male jumped from the bridge into the Arroyo,” the statement read. “He was pronounced deceased by Pasadena Fire Paramedics at 3:52 PM.”

Ed Winter, assistant chief of investigations for the LA County Coroner, said the final cause of death is pending toxicology reports.

Sarpong was born in London and as a youngster moved to the United States with his father.

As a model, he was the face of Tommy Hilfiger for several years and also modeled for other high profile designers including Dolce & Gabana and Versace.

Sarpong’s career as an actor earned him appearances in films like 2003’s “Love Don’t Cost A Thing” and on various TV shows including “My So Called Life,” “24” and “Bones.”

According to his IMDB page he had a bit role in the upcoming series FX series “American Crime Story” which is set to air in 2016.

But Sarpong was best known for three seasons of hosting the reality show “Yo Momma” with actor Wilmer Valderrama.

Valerrama paid tribute to Sarpong on Instagram and wrote “I am so sad & so confused.”

“Sam did it all, believed in dreaming bigger than anyone around him,” the actor wrote of his friend. “We made memories together that will last us forever, thank you for sharing your talent with me and the world.”

Sarpong’s family released the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter:

“It is with great sadness that the family of Samuel Sarpong, Jr. must share the news that Sam has passed away. The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation and no additional details are known at this time. Information about final arrangements will be forthcoming. The family appreciates the thoughts prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request their privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time.”

According to the family he is is survived by his father Samuel Sarpong Sr., and his sister June Sarpong.

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