David Oyelowo has revealed his beloved father Stephen has passed away following one-year battle with colon cancer.
The Les Misérables actor, 44, took to Instagram on Friday to pay tribute to his ‘protector, guardian, hero and encourager’ who ‘fought so hard to stick around’ for his family in a heartbreaking post.
Alongside the emotional message, the screen star uploaded an image of his family – including his wife Jessica and their four children – kissing his dad on the cheek, as well as a photo of David and his brothers huddling around their parent.
The grieving thespian wrote: ‘It is with a heavy heart that I bring the news of the passing of my BELOVED father.
‘My brothers and I knew him as our protector, guardian, hero, encourager and our lovely Daddy. You probably knew him as @the_leaf_blower, because of his hilarious antics with that very noisy device!’
Detailing the former airline worker’s health battle, the Selma star said: ‘You wouldn’t know it, but my Dad had been in a years long battle with colon cancer.
‘My heart is at peace because his pain is now over and the real victory has been won because I know he is now with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He fought so hard to stick around for me, my brothers and his grandchildren.
‘He would often say to me. “God has so much in store for you, and I want to be here to see it”.’
The media personality went on to share his last conversation with his late relative ‘as he fought through the pain’: ‘ME: Daddy I love you and it’s okay to let go. Are you ready to go and be with mummy now? MY DAD: Yes!’
The TV and film star’s mother, who worked for a railway company, suffered a fatal brain aneurysm five years ago.
Admitting he’ll ‘never truly get over losing him’, David ended his post by insisting his ‘heart is full’ as Stephen ‘has reunited with his wife in heaven’.
The LAMDA graduate added: ‘He passed away peacefully this week and I truly believe he’s now reunited with my mum in heaven. He loved her so much.
‘Thank you to all who loved him, “followed” him and celebrated this most transcendent of human beings. He loved you all. Giving love was his special gift, his true talent, his greatest example. Rest well, Daddy.’
David, who tied the knot to actress Jessica, 43, in 1998, tearfully discussed racism he and his family have faced in a moving video in June.
The father-of-four detailed his experiences with discrimination as he told fans how he has felt since the death of George Floyd after Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Confessing recent weeks ‘have been impossibly difficult’, he said: ‘In a bid to pull myself out of the hole I have been in I’ve tried to look to the future, the future that my children will step into, but in a bid to do that I have had to look at the past.’
Discussing what his father went through in the 60s, David went on: ‘When he arrived in the UK people would check for his tail to see if he had one, he had coffee thrown in his face, hot coffee, he was spat at, he couldn’t rent a place to live because it was “No Blacks, No Irish, No dogs”.
‘He would tell me these stories and they felt like something relegated to the past, something that we had moved on from, I stepped into a future that I determined was going to be different.’
The Oxford native said his father wasn’t supportive of his dream of being an actor at first as he was scared of the discrimination he’d face, but ‘was proud’ when he was cast as the King of England in a play with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
However, at that time David was forced to deal with instances of racism as he had ‘people who were having to sift through my fan mail because I was getting so much hate mail for playing that role.’
‘We eventually left the UK because to be perfectly frank it was a challenge being a black person in my industry there at that time,’ David went on. ‘But being someone who is optimistic I felt “you know what let’s keep moving forward”.
‘I am going to build on what my dad gave me, on the opportunities the UK gave me, move to America and then played Dr King in Selma, which was an amazing moment for me.
‘And then got attacked for playing that role whilst being married to a white woman, and that became a whole other challenge to face, again along these racial lines.’
Reflecting on recent events, he added: ‘This is not like losing ones life like George Floyd, but I am trying to let you guys know who have reached out to me asking how I am just what it is we black people face, and you may not always know.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Rianne Addo