'He didn't get sick or anything' - Jamie Bartlett's final hours

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Jamie Bartlett | 2004
Jamie Bartlett | 2004
Photo: Getty Images

Monday was a beautiful day that Rosa Onious shared with her partner, Jamie Bartlett, but her world was turned upside down when he died after experiencing cardiac arrest on their couch.

Still grappling with her emotions, Onious told Channel24 about the final hours they spent together.

"It was such a beautiful day."

Onious said they woke up at around 07:00 but decided to sleep more. At around 11:00, Bartlett decided to go to the shops to get essentials.

"When he got back, I was awake," she said.

The couple then prepared something to eat together.

"He had cooked a beautiful fish curry the previous day, so we made rice for it."

As the day continued, the couple had a phone call with a friend – who they were with the previous evening - who was relocating to Bloemfontein. After the phone call, they talked.

"He was telling me how much he loves me, that I'm the only woman he ever looks at and I must never doubt that. I'm like, 'I know, why are you talking like that?'" she said.

Soon afterwards, Bartlett took his usual afternoon nap on the couch.

"He was really tired," she said. "He loved taking afternoon naps. He had a spot on the couch where he loved to sleep and rest."

Her world was turned upside down when she tried to wake him up, as she usually did, at around 17:00.

"I said Jamie, Jamie, [but] Jamie didn't look up," she said.

Onious added that she tried to nudge him awake again, but he did not wake up.  

"I called my mom, who was outside, and she tried everything," she said as she tried to hold back her tears.

The mother and daughter then contacted an ambulance service, and the paramedics arrived within 15 minutes.

They tried everything they could to resuscitate him, "but it was too late", Onious said.

READ MORE | Jamie Bartlett's cause of death revealed

"He was just lying there, so peaceful and so beautiful. He looked so beautiful," she said. "He didn't get sick or anything, not even signs of him complaining that 'my chest is sore [or] I'm not well'. Nothing."

Onious said she was devastated.

Not having him at home, not waking up with him, [him] kissing me on my face. That's what he did. He woke me up with kisses, and not hearing his voice, it's hard, it's so hard.

She added that it was not getting any easier.

"Each day that goes by, it gets tougher. I want it to get easier, but it gets tougher."

Onious said she didn't know how she would live without him.

"I would just say [to him], 'Jamie, no. Not yet. No, don't leave me, not yet,'" she said.

Instead of fulfilling the many travel and career plans they had, "there's a big empty space".

They had plans to visit Onious' sister in New York and to travel to France for a wedding in July, and there were many other things, careerwise, that were "starting to come in" for Bartlett.

"We were finally celebrating," she said. 

Rosa Onious and Jamie Bartlett during Royalty Soap
Rosa Onious and Jamie Bartlett during Royalty Soapie Awards.

According to a November 2020 YOU article, the couple met on a night out in Melville, but the sparks only started to fly when they reconnected in November 2019.

ALSO READ:

'I could write a book about this guy' - Mduduzi Mabaso says about Jamie Bartlett

Jamie Bartlett: A life in pictures

Anant Singh pays tribute to Jamie Bartlett: 'His passing leaves a huge void in the industry'

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