Family, celebs, fans mourn as Junior Pope is buried

It is well! Your only offence was going out on that fateful day to look for your daily bread

Family, fans, and celebrities were in tears as the late actor, John Paul Odonwodo, fondly known as Junior Pope, was laid to rest in his hometown of Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The sombre occasion took place on Friday, May 17, 2024, at Saint Peter’s Catholic Parish, Ukehe, Enugu State, where Rt Rev Godfrey Onah, Bishop of Nsukka Catholic Diocese, officiated the funeral mass.

In videos that circulated online, Junior Pope’s wife could be seen being surrounded by their sons, family, and colleagues, who all wore black attire.

Expressing grief at the late actor’s death, Tonto Dike wrote on Instagram, “Our saddest loss yet. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”

Another actor, Zubby Michael, paid a visit to the late actor’s residence to sympathise with the family. He wrote on Instagram, “It is like a film. Rest in Peace, Oloye.”

On her part, Sarah Martins wrote, “It is well! Your only offence was going out on that fateful day to look for your daily bread. I don’t wish this kind of painful death on anyone; not even my debtors, Judy Austin and her stolen husband, Yul.”

An actor and friend of the deceased, Dave Ogbeni, wrote, “I will miss you greatly but I will never forget you, my blood. Now, you can rest well in the Lord’s bosom. For you today, Nsukka went agog. Respect.”

A fan, Pweetyluveth wrote, “Continue to rest on, Junior Pope. You remain forever in our hearts. May God give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”

On his part, singer, Kingsley Okonkwo (Kcee), who attended the funeral with his brother, Emeka Okonkwo (E-Money), wrote, “Junior Pope was a blessing to this generation. A loving guy; somebody that we will not forget in this generation. Someone who was content with whatever he had. He called my brother and I ‘my blood’.

“My brother, who is the godfather of Pope’s first son, has said we would take care of the children. But, we cannot do that without the support of the family. We are saying it openly to the family that we are not doing it to show off, but because of his last statement before he died.” (While on a boat ride on the day before his death, Junior Pope had said he had three children, and he wanted to be the one to take care of them).

* Junior Pope

Responding to Kcee, a member of Pope’s family thanked the brothers for deciding to help train the late actor’s sons, stating that they were going to set up a trust fund for the kids to ensure their upbringing and education.

The funeral proceedings had commenced on April 23 with a requiem mass at Saint John-Mary Vianney Parish in Asaba, Delta State.

An evening of tributes and candlelight was also held on May 14, honouring the actor and the four other crew members who tragically lost their lives alongside him.

On Thursday, May 16, a wake was organised in honour of the late actor in his hometown.

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