By: Wazobia Times Staff
Philemon Ihediwa, a prominent Nigerian movie star based in United State of America wrote, starred, directed and produced his first movie in the United States. He was one of few Nigerians in the Diaspora that ventured into Hollywood. His movie, CONGO BOY IN THE CITY, featured Nollywood movie stars like Kanayo. O. Kanayo and Madam Gee.
According to Punch.com, on Saturday evening, police found his bloated body in his apartment. He fell on the floor in his bathroom, hitting his head against the bathtub. Ihediwa, had told his friend Louise Gorsham who lived across town during a telephone conversation few days to his death that he was not feeling well and would retire to bed early. Ms. Gorsham called several times days after so she pleaded with a coworker to drive her to Ihediwa’s apartment in Smithfield, a thirty minutes ride from Raleigh. When the arrived, she called the police who forced the door of the apartment open; where they found him dead in the bathroom.
Smithfield medical examiner’s office determined that the causes of death were seizure and possible heart attack. It was recorded that “his body was bloated and near decomposition when he was found in his bathroom. The heat in the apartment accelerated decomposition process.” The medical Examiner also concluded that Ihediwa might have died five days earlier.
Unconfirmed sources say Smithfield police tried several times to reach his ex-wife but she did not return calls placed to her cell phone. His body was deposited in the morgue pending notification of his next of kin, his children, especially the first son.
The Nigerian community in RTP in association with Ngwa Association, on Monday attempted to move his remains to a funeral home to prepare him for burial. But the funeral home indicated that it would only honor the wishes of the family and not community members; to protect itself from any legal fallout. The ex-wife and their first son refused to participate in the burial of their father. On Wednesday afternoon, after several pleas from members of the community to the ex-wife to encourage his 19-year-old first son, sign a release form allowing the community to be responsible for Ihediwa’s funeral, the ex-wife and first son, George Uche, met Jebose Boulevard at a funeral home to relinquish their rights for the final disposition of their late father.
Jebose Boulevard assumed the right to bury Mr. Ihediwa. This refusal confirmed the conversations trending in this small town that the children rejected and refused Mr. Ihediwa as their father. Jebose Boulevard, Ngwa and the Nigerian community moved his body to the funeral home.
Nigerians in the Research Triangle Park are infuriated about the sad death and circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Family and close members are theorizing on what drove him to early death. A member of his extended family, who chose to be anonymous, stated angrily, “Ihediwa spent every month of the last ten years being taken to family court in Wake County by his ex-wife for child support payment and arrears. He paid about $1,400 in monthly child support to that lady. She dragged him through the system. Ihediwa worked very hard and suffered to pay child support. The ex-wife accused him of being a superstar, rich and wealthy. This man had his talent and creativity that couldn’t fetch him money because he was abused and stressed by the ex-wife. She took him to the cleaners. He is dead now. What else would she claim?
Ihediwa and Stella were married in 1996. The marriage was blessed with three boys. Ten years after their marriage, the couple separated on June 23, 2006. The state of North Carolina granted them certificate of absolute divorce on June 18, 2010.