South African actress, Shaleen Surtie-Richards who won the hearts of millions of viewers with her TV and movie roles has passed away.
Details surrounding her death are still unknown.
The 66-year old was a household name as she conquered her role as Ester (Nenna) Willemse on South Africa's first television soapie, “Egoli: Place of Gold”, she also starred in SABC2’s “7 de Laan”, “Villa Rosa”, and “Generations” and hosted her own talk show, “Shaleen”.
Surtie-Richards also brought her versatility to the stage where she performed in various plays, including the one-woman “Shirley Valentine” for which she won a Fleur de Cap award.
Her performances on stages locally and internationally and made important contributions to local arts festivals such as the Suidoosterfees, KKNK and the Grahamstown festival.
Surtie-Richards management, Elysian Management took to social media to announce the stalwarts passing: “Good Morning All, it is with the deepest regret that we have to inform you that Shaleen Surtie-Richards has passed away. We ask that during this time the family and friends be given an opportunity to process this sad news.
We will give further details as we find out more information. Please allow us the opportunity to inform all the relevant parties.
This is a major loss to the television and film industry … She was and still remains an icon. Our condolences to her family, friends and fans RIP Shaleen ,” read the statement.
Anroux Marais, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport paid tribute to the late actor who hailed from Cape Town.
“Shaleen was the embodiment of the story of so many people in our country. She faced many difficulties as a young actor who started her career in the apartheid era, but whose love for her craft drove her to rise above all the obstacles in her path.
“Her talent and commitment to acting were clear in all that she did and she was beloved by the people of South Africa for the warm and endearing characters she brought to life on our screens and stages,” said Marais.
“We express our sincere condolences to Shaleen’s family, friends and extended performing arts families.
She was a true national treasure and her legacy will live on for many years to come,” she said.
This originally appeared on IOL