Model, 40, Dies After 7-Hour Police Standoff on Bridge

Sam Sarpong, ex-Tommy Hilfiger model and MTV co-host, dead in Calif. suicide
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2015 1:58 PM CDT
Model, 40, Dies After 7-Hour Police Standoff on Bridge
In this June 28, 2015, file photo, Sam Sarpong arrives at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Police crisis negotiators and family members tried for seven hours Monday to talk a distressed British actor and model off a California bridge, but the incident ended in tragedy, Us Weekly reports. Per Hollywood Life, Sam Sarpong, 40, an ex-Tommy Hilfiger model and former co-host of MTV's Yo Momma reality-TV game show, jumped from Pasadena's Colorado Street Bridge and was pronounced dead by paramedics at 3:52pm, according to a release from the Pasadena Police Department; the LA County coroner ruled Sarpong's death a suicide, with an autopsy to come, Variety reports. Law enforcement had rushed to the bridge Monday morning after a witness spotted Sarpong standing outside the bridge's railing. Police closed off the area under the bridge as well as the bridge itself while they tried to talk him off his perch, but he ultimately jumped into the river underneath the bridge, Deadline reports.

Sarpong, who was born in London, moved to LA when he was 11 and eventually started modeling, including a six-year stint with Tommy Hilfiger, as well as Versace, Gucci, and other big names, Variety notes. He nabbed the MTV spot in 2006 and had a slew of other TV credits to his name, including parts on ER, Boston Public, and 24. He'll also be featured in next year's much-hyped American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson on FX. "[Sarpong] had a pure heart and always went out of his way to help others," his rep tells the magazine. "We will all miss him dearly." His MTV co-host also had something to say about the tragic news, CBS Los Angeles reports. "I am so sad & so confused," Wilmer Valderrama posted on Instagram. "Sam did it all, believed in dreaming bigger than anyone around him. … And to everyone in a dark place.. PLEASE, please talk to someone.. Anyone." (More suicide stories.)

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