Actor Sam Sarpong Dies After Jumping From California’s ‘Suicide Bridge’

British-American actor and model Sam Sarpong died today at the age of 40. According to USA Today and other media outlets, a witness saw Sarpong jump from a bridge in Pasadena, California, earlier in the day. Authorities located his body around 3 p.m. local time. His family commented on the unfortunate news through a statement issued by Sam’s personal representative.

“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…. The family appreciates the thoughts and prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request that privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time.”

As noted by Us Magazine, Sam Sarpong was widely regarded as the “face” of clothing company Tommy Hilfiger for several years. He was also well known to MTV viewers from his stint on the show Yo Momma, a program that he co-hosted with Wilmer Valderrama.

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Actor Sam Sarpong and TV personality Minnie Dlamini speak onstage during the International Awards during the 2015 BET Awards. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for BET)

Sarpong had a significant list of acting credits to his name, appearing in a total of 76 roles according to International Business Times. He recently appeared in TV roles on American Crime Story and Bones as well as in episodes of Boston Public, Veronica Mars, and Everybody Hates Chris. In the mid-1990s, Sam Sarpong appeared in an uncredited role on an episode of the cult television series My So-Called Life. That role was his first as a professional actor.

After receiving a call from a concerned individual who saw Sarpong standing on the bridge, Pasedena Police reportedly engaged Sam Sarpong and communicated with him for hours before he ultimately jumped. Police Chief Phillip Sanchez shared his condolences via a statement.

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Actor Sam Sarpong attends the Laughter Heals Foundation and Stockholm Kristall Vodka ‘Healing Through Laughter’ event in November 2004. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“It is sad and troubling when an individual has become so despondent that he or she feels their only option is to end their life. These incidents can often have a significant impact on the victim’s loved ones, first responders, and the community as a whole. My prayers go out to the family.”

The site of Sam Sarpong’s death, the Pasadena Colorado Street Bridge, has been the location of somewhere around 100 suicides in the structure’s 103-year-old history. Originally constructed in 1912, the bridge saw its first suicide in 1919, as documented by the website Weird California. Almost 50 people jumped from the bridge during the Great Depression, and many other suicides — some of them wrought with peculiar and harrowing circumstances extending beyond the grisly act of suicide itself — occurred at the structure in the decades that followed.

Although “suicide barriers” were added to the bridge in recent years, the structural changes have not been sufficient to completely eliminate the possibility that individuals may climb over the railings and jump to their deaths after falling 150 feet to the ground below.

Celebrities including actors Lyriq Bent, Guy Torry, and Mo McRae paid tribute to Sam Sarping via social media.

Us Magazine notes that Sam Saprong is survived by his sister, British television host June Saprong, and his father, Samuel Saprong Sr.

[Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images]

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