Fiona’s dark last hours

By admin
27 August 2010

On TV she was the woman with the sharp tongue and steely gaze who’d peer over those dark-rimmed glasses and, without a trace of sympathy for the hapless contestant, snarl, “You are the Weakest Link . . . goodbye.”

But as it turns out Fiona Coyne (45) didn’t have all the answers either. And the award-winning playwright, actress and TV presenter’s farewell to the world has been as painfully precise as her personality was.

She was found dead in bed at home in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, on 18 August. She’d committed suicide the previous night.

A Cape Town advocate might be able to shed light on why this vivacious woman felt life was no longer worth living. All distraught Richard Goodman could say was, “I love her. I love her so much” before becoming too overcome to say any more.

Fiona was an extremely private person whose life had changed dramatically in the past few months, one of her closest friends and confidantes says.

She had thrown heart and soul into a community project in Zimbabwe. Then she met Richard.

In a quiet spot after the service Lesley-Anne Mulder (41) talks about Fiona, her friend of 14 years.

“I’ll never forget how excited she was when she fell in love out of the blue,” Lesley-Anne says. “That caught her by surprise and she was different – ecstatic, wildly happy.”

But there was a problem. Fiona told her friend Richard was opposed to her involvement in the Zimbabwean upliftment project.

“Then he went quiet and when she didn’t hear from him it was like the rug had been pulled out from under her. As fast as it had arrived love vanished.”

One of the most painful things in Fiona’s life was that she couldn’t have children, says Lesley-Anne, whose son Liam (8) was Fiona’s godchild.

“But with Malala in her life, then Richard on top of it, she radiated love and happiness over the last few months like I’d never seen her do in all those years.”

In March they visited Zimbabwe where Lesley-Anne introduced Fiona to her friends at Malala on the Zambezi River. Fiona made an immediate connection with founders Robert Fowler and Dennis Bean. Dennis explained to her how they were helping the community to grow fruit and vegetables and make money from it so they could become self-sustaining.

“She positioned herself in the project immediately, saying she’d be the spokesperson, finding people worldwide to participate to uplift Zimbabweans.”

- Visit www.bengula-project.org to view a video of Fiona at the Zimbabwe project she was so passionate about. S

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