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Former Mediacorp news presenter Riz Sunawan dies aged 44

He was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS in October 2018.

Former Mediacorp news presenter Riz Sunawan dies aged 44

Former Mediacorp news presenter, Riz Sunawan. (Photos: Instagram/rizsunawan)

SINGAPORE: Former Mediacorp news presenter Asri Sunawan, better known as Riz Sunawan, died aged 44 on Wednesday (Feb 8).

Mr Asri was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the most common type of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), in October 2018. Patients with the terminal illness live an average of two to five years.

According to Mediacorp's Berita platform, Mr Asri last spoke to his helper around 8am on Wednesday. The helper found Mr Asri unresponsive an hour later, and he was pronounced dead at 10.46am.

Mr Asri's father Sunawan Dasuri told Berita that his son became weaker after his mother's death in October 2022 from kidney disease.

"It looked like he lost something - but he remained active," said his father.

His sister Linda Sunawan said the family was saddened but at peace with Mr Asri's death.

"He suffered (but) he was strong and he persevered," she told Berita. 

After Mr Asri's diagnosis, he co-founded the first Motor Neurone Disease Association of Singapore in June 2021 and became its ambassador.

He also released a bilingual book in December, documenting the life of someone living with MND in Singapore.

He said at the time that even though his vocals had been affected by MND, the book served as an extension of his voice to amplify awareness of MND and ALS. 

The book was titled My Name is Riz. I have Motor Neurone Disease, with its launch event attended by President Halimah Yacob.

Madam Halimah paid tribute to Mr Asri on Facebook, saying he would be "fondly remembered for his efforts in championing the Malay language".

"His passing is a loss to the community," she wrote.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Health Rahayu Mahzam also said in a Facebook post that Mr Asri "never let his medical condition limit his ability to contribute - always committed, always attending meetings, always sharing ideas".

"Riz will continue to be an inspiration to us all. We will miss him dearly," she said.

His book's co-author Hidayah Amin said in December that Mr Asri's incurable disease "did not crush his spirit to live a meaningful life".

"His story motivates and spurs us to fight on, no matter what the circumstances are," she said.

Read this story in Bahasa Melayu here. 

Source: CNA/fh(jo)


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