British actor, TV presenter and model Sam Sarpong has died after reportedly committing suicide at the age of 40.

Sam, who is the older brother of the British presenter June Sarpong, had been a successful fashion model, appearing in campaigns for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and for fashion houses like Versace and Gucci. He also made history by becoming the first black model feature in a Louis Vuitton editorial campaign.

US Weekly reports that Sarpong died on Monday (October 26th) in Pasadena, California after having jumped from a bridge in the area, despite police officers and firefighters allegedly spending nearly seven hours trying to talk him down.

Sam SarpongSam Sarpong pictured in 2012

The County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner has initially ruled that Sarpong died from committing suicide, pending an autopsy.

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“The family appreciates the thoughts prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request their privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time,” a statement from the family’s representatives read.

The star’s management company, Advanced Management, issued a statement the following day saying: “Devastated to hear that our friend and client @mrsamsarpong is no longer with us. Prayers and thoughts to the entire Sarpong family.”

Though he was born in Britain, Sarpong relocated with his family to Los Angeles when he was 11. After showing promise as a future basketball star, he turned to modelling and became the face of Tommy Hilfiger for six years. He also launched his own clothing line, Future Stars, with the designs reflecting his trans-Atlantic upbringing.

Having initially found success on the catwalk, Sarpong branched out into acting a few years ago, securing roles in TV shows such as ‘Veronica Mars’ and ‘Bones’ and guest appearances in the likes of ‘Cold Case’ and ‘Everybody Hates Chris’. Most recently, he was in a presenting role on MTV’s ‘Yo Momma’ alongside Wilmer Valderrama.

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