After battling with a life-threatening illness for months, Mr Ibu, born John Okafor, finally succumbed to the cold hands of death. The ace Nollywood actor passed away at Evercare Hospital in Lagos on March 2, 2024, at the age of 62, as a result of cardiac arrest.


For someone who hoped to live up to 100 years, it is quite sad that the thespian’s dream could not come to pass. “It’s another God-sent day for me. I have completed 61 years. I can’t believe this. My mother died at 90-91 years almost,” he said in October 2021 — on the occasion of his birthday.

“I said I was going to go 100. It is by God’s power, not by man’s might. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I go 100. But I know I want to leave a history in this country.”

His death has indeed dealt a huge blow to the Nigerian movie industry and fans alike. For most people born in the early 2000s, Mr Ibu was a joy to watch on TV screens with his effortlessly funny characters. If you saw him in a Nollywood movie, you just knew that you were going to laugh your heart out.

Mr Ibu was famous for his funny facial expressions and comical aspects

His funny facial expressions, comedic characters, witty dialogue, foolhardy dramatizations, humorous scenarios, and infectious energy all birthed the movie character we all came to know and love like a next skin.

At 62, Ibu remained one of the actors who helped revolutionise the comedy movie landscape in Nigeria.



Mr Ibu was born on October 17, 1961, in Umunekwu, Nigeria’s former Eastern Region; now called Nkanu West LGA, Enugu state.

After elementary school in 1974, he moved to Sapele to stay with his brother, after his father’s demise.

In Sapele, he did menial jobs so he could sponsor himself to school and support his family. He worked as a hairstylist, ventured into photography, and also got employed in a company that produces crates.

After secondary school, he was admitted into the College of Education, Yola but pulled out due to finance.


He later enrolled in the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) as soon as he was financially buoyant.


In October last year, the ace actor revealed he was battling with a life-threatening illness.

Although he did not reveal the nature of the illness, the film star, who spoke from a hospital bed, cried out for financial assistance, adding that he did not want to lose his leg.

'I don't want my leg cut off' -- Mr. Ibu begs for help
The ailing actor had appealed to his fans and the public for prayers and financial assistance to cover his medical bills

The film star’s plight prompted calls on social media for the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) to assist one of its own.

Several prominent and average Nigerians announced their donations to the ailing actor, while others rallied for help for him.

The Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Foundation revealed it “paid the entire medical expenses of Ibu” while Shehu Sani, the senator, also promised to do all he could to help the veteran actor.

Peter Okoye, the singer, also called on his colleagues and fans to support Ibu in their own way.


Unfortunately for the ace actor in November, one of his legs was amputated after he had undergone seven successful surgeries. It was said that the procedure was carried out to keep him alive and increase his chances of recovery.

In December, Ibu’s family dismissed claims that his second leg was amputated. They added that further amputation was done on the same leg because the initial procedure did not improve the actor’s condition.

FAKE NEWS ALERT: Mr Ibu’s second leg not amputated, says family
Ibu returned home in January after months in hospital

It was then public knowledge that the cause of Ibu’s ailment was a “constant clotting of the blood” in his leg.

In January, the movie star returned home after months in the hospital.


In the wake of Ibu’s health struggles, Stella Maris, the actor’s wife, claimed that Jazmine, his adopted daughter, had hijacked the funds donated for his surgery.

She also accused her of dating the actor, claiming he abandoned his family because of her.

Last November, the police had invited Jasmine amid claims she withdrew N300 million from the ailing actor’s donation account.

Jasmine and Onyeabuchi, the second son of Mr. Ibu, were thereafter arrested in January over an alleged N55 million fraud.


Mr Ibu had once revealed that he initially had no intention to delve into acting and would remain a movie producer that he was at the time.

He then rebranded as an actor in the early 2000s but rose to fame for his role in the movie ‘Mr Ibu,’ which was released in 2004.

He also featured in hundreds of movies such as ‘Coffin Producers’, ‘Husband Suppliers’, ‘International Players’, ‘Keziah’, ‘Mr.Ibu in London’ and ‘Police Recruit’.

His roles in movies were considered to be so unique because he was able to deliver his comic characters without breaking a sweat.

Mr Ibu was once a singer


The actor ventured into music for a short period, releasing his songs titled ‘This Girl‘ and ‘Do You Know’ in October 2020. He was also a boxer, football coach, and karate practitioner.

In a 2018 interview with Premium Times, Ibu said he was doing well as a boxer until he participated at a championship in Delta where he was badly pummelled.

“I was badly pummeled during the fight that I could not even be recognised after the fight,” he said.

“I almost lost an eye because of the punches he dealt me. That was the incident that made me quit boxing. Aside from boxing, I’m sure that you don’t know that I used to be a football coach. I coached the national team of the Actors Guild of Nigeria for four years. I was also a Karate practitioner; I got my black belt in 1983.

“I practised Shotokan Karate for 16 years and I was a member of the Karate Federation of Nigeria. I am the first instructor that taught Karate in federal government colleges in Nigeria. I taught Martial Arts at a Girls’ Secondary School in Onitsha.”

He was married twice in his lifetime with more than 10 children, one of whom is known to have died.

Ibu may have passed away, but in years to come, he will be remembered for his towering legacies and contribution to the development of Nollywood.

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