The South African actor who played the lead role of King Nebu in Daniel the Musical that premiered in Jerusalem has died.
Andile Gumbi, 36, suffered a heart attack on Oct. 16 and was being treated in the ICU of Shaare Tzedek Hospital. He died on Oct. 25 with his wife by his side.
News of Gumbi’s death sent shockwaves across South Africa where the young actor was known for the lead role on a TV series called Isibaya and as the long-time lead role of Simba in Disney’s The Lion King. Gumbi performed in several cities including London and on Broadway in New York.
In a statement, Gumbi’s family expressed their love of Andile and the pain of losing him.
“Our Andile was a legend and we loved him. His work as an actor, dancer and singer was known throughout Africa and the world, including the lead role of Simba in the Lion King on Broadway, in London, Australia and Shanghai for a decade. Andile was also known for his starring role in in the televised drama Isibaya.”
“As for his bereaved family, Andile will most be remembered as a loving and amazing husband and father. We are devastated that God decided to take him so soon and grieve over all the plans that we had together. We will miss him profoundly.”
Gumbi’s wife is in Israel arranging the transfer of his body back to South Africa for burial.
Daniel The Musical premiered on Oct. 10 at the Jerusalem Theater. The story of Daniel was portrayed with an African flair with a cast of 30 performers from South Africa. Producer Joe Niemand, who is a Christian, said the musical was written to show solidarity with, and love towards, Israel and the Jewish people.