Tributes are flowing in from around the world on social media at the news that the man dubbed the king of reggae in Samoa, Mailo Ben Vai, has passed away.
His death was announced by the “We are Samoa Facebook page.”
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of beloved Samoan musician, Ben Vai,” the announcement reads.
“Our sincere and deepest condolences to his family, such a humble soul taken so early. Sing with the angels, Mr. Vai!”
Hundreds of Mailo’s fans, relatives and colleagues have taken to social media to pay their respects, reposting their favourite songs from the artist.
Attempts are being made to get a comment from his family.
But the Samoa Observer understands that Mailo had been battling cancer.
Among the tributes on social media is one from fellow award winning musician, Lole Usoali’i-Hickey.
“Well I’m saddened to hear of my bro Ben Vai passing,” she writes."
“I’m so glad u finally found Jesus. I remember Ben wen we first met in Samoa in 2003 with his dreads outside paddles on a nite out.
“We talked bout music we sang together did gigs together, recorded together but my best memories I will always remember he turned up to our tatt studio in Samoa and asked if I could pray for his Dad who was a faifeau and very ill.
“So I said sure bro 2007 maybe so we prayed and tears running down his face told him that God has a plan for his life we would talk often bout God in Samoa.”
Another famous Samoan musician, Lapi Mariner, said the industry has lost a great talent.
“My heart is heavy as tonight,” he writes. “Our USO Mailo Ben Vai was promoted to Glory. Thank you USO for showing me how to serve others with a genuine heart.
“I’m gonna miss our late nights talking about life our walk with Christ our wives our children and especially our Worship. 2 Timoteo 4:7 Ua ou tau le taua lelei, ua ou faai’uina le tausinioga, ua ou tausia le faatuatua. Love to Faletui and the children we’ll see you soon.”
On Mailo’s page in August 2017, he posted about his fight with cancer.
The post reads:
“Praise GOD for His Grace and Mercy in our lives.
“I haven't posted anything for some days but in that time I have been overwhelmed and still soaking in the GOOD news since my Doctors appointment on Tuesday this week. Brothers and Sisters it's humbling for me what I'm about to share .
So on Tuesday my Doctor told me the results of my CT scan of the area where the cancer is situated and Dr. Tim Hawkins said the cancer(lymphoma) is gone. I happily surprised asked what does gone mean and he said the scan results is showing no trace of the disease.
“Praise GOD..Viia Le Atua. I'm so happy I feel like a lamb in Psalms 23.. I praise God for my life and friends I reassure you all that He is the healing for the world. The devil has fooled and tricked us for thousands of years and he will be judged and before he goes down he wants to corrupt the billions of Gods children as much as he can.
“The devil infects the world with lies, depression, addiction, negativity, jealousy, hatred, racism and all the things which are NOT of GOD. Let us take Jesus Christ as our personal saviour, be baptized in the Holy Spirit ,pray for World Peace and Love your neighbors as God loves us all. Can you imagine if the whole world can claim and declare in the name of Jesus Christ at the same time. Dear friends and families be kind to one another and have a Blessed day.”