Actor and Model Sam Sarpong Dies From Apparent Suicide

Sam Sarpong

British model and MTV personality Sam Sarpong has died 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 called the authorities on Monday morning after seeing a man standing outside of the bridge railing. Officers and firefighters communicated with him for hours, but he ultimately jumped to his death.

“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.”

Sarpong’s family is shocked and devastated by his death.

“It is with great sadness that the family of Samuel Sarpong Jr. must share the news that Sam has passed away,” his family said in a statement via his rep. “The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation and no additional details are known at this time. … The family appreciates the thoughts and prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request that privacy be respected at this extremely difficult 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,” the statement added. “Samuel Sarpong Jr. is survived by his father Samuel Sarpong Sr., and his sister June Sarpong. Samuel Sarpong Jr. was 40 years old.”

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

Valderrama reacted to news of Sarpong’s death on Instagram, saying he was “so sad & so confused,” and urged people to reach out to people if they find themselves “in a dark place.”

Sarpong has also starred on shows such as Family Matters, Pacific Blue, Boston Public, ER, Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris, 24, Bones and most recently, the TV crime drama American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, which debuts next year.

I am so sad & so confused.. Sam did it all, believed in dreaming bigger than anyone around him.. We made memories together that will last us forever, thank you for sharing your talent with me and the world.. You were a light everywhere you went and I couldn’t be more proud of the journey you traveled.. You just left us too early Sam.. We will miss you and pray for you.. Once again thank you for all those years you dedicated to our show, we couldn’t have done it without you! Find your peace my brother! And to everyone in a dark place.. PLEASE, please talk to someone.. Anyone.. Trust me that we WILL listen.. You are not alone, there are so many people that feel the same darkness, let’s help one another, let us shine hope on all those that need our understanding!! Reach out to someone and make your first step towards living a life you deserve. My prayers and heart are with family and friends that were blessed to know his beautiful soul #RIPSamSarpong

A photo posted by Wilmer Valderrama (@wilmervalderrama) on

(Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)