The family of veteran actor Patrick Shai, who was found dead by a family member at his home in Dobsonville, Soweto, yesterday morning, has promised to reveal the cause of his death in due course. He was 66.
Shai, whose career in the film and television industry spanned more than three decades, is believed to have committed suicide in the garage of his home.
His death came a week after he came under fire for a viral video in which he hurled insults at rapper Cassper Nyovest and the musician’s mother.
In the video, Shai was in a fighting mood.
“I want to bliksem you before I die. I want to make sure that I’ve beaten you up so that on my tombstone, it is written that I am the man who beat Caster or Coster or whatever your sh*t name is … Give me that respect. Come, you son of a bi**h,” he said in the video.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Shai apologised to Nyovest and his mother for the distasteful video.
Apologise, for having [used] such strong language towards your mom. Even though the [boxing] challenge would have been an ideal thing but it has now been soured by what I said. I regret every bit of the last sentence I used. I am sorry,” he said.
Yesterday, family spokesperson Amogelang Mmusi said the family was still in shock.
“All I can say is that his wife, Mme Masechaba, is devastated. At the moment, the family is having meetings to come to terms with his passing,” said Mmusi.
She said she could not comment about the aftermath of the social media backlash he suffered.
“I was not with him on the days leading up to his passing, so I wouldn’t know about his mental state.”
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said Shai was certified dead at the scene.
“Police have opened an inquest docket after a South African actor was found dead in his house in Dobsonville in Soweto on Saturday. Police were called to the scene and, on arrival, they found a family member of the actor who showed the police his body in the garage of their house,” said Masondo.
Neighbour Thabo Khanyile described Shai as a peace-loving man who always smiled when he greeted him.
“He was a people’s person, always willing to help whenever he could and generally a nice guy. He would ask me about my day and encourage me and other men in the community to speak about what’s bothering us to avoid things such as depression,” Khanyile said.
Shai, who was also an activist, spoke publicly about changing his ways from being an abusive husband in the past. Shai, who recently appeared in The River, acted in productions including Generations, Zone 14, Ashes to Ashes, Zero Tolerance, Bophelo ke Semphego, Hearts and Minds and 7de Laan.