Comedian Lazarus Boora, popularly known as Gringo, who died yesterday morning at West View Medical Clinic will be buried on Thursday at his rural home in Rukweza, Rusape.

He was 47.

He succumbed to stomach cancer around 9am yesterday despite concerted efforts by doctors to stop the disease from spreading to other parts of the body.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said in a statement yesterday that the arts community and the nation had lost a great actor.

“My fellow countrymen, this morning (yesterday), we learnt of the passing of one of Zimbabwe’s talented comic actors, Lazarus Boora, popularly known as Gringo,” she said.

“Allow me on behalf of His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa and the nation to convey my condolences to the Boora family.

“Lazarus may have left us, but he will forever be remembered as our dear Gringo, a man who brought joy and laughter in our homes. May his dear soul rest in peace.”

Minister Mutsvangwa chronicled the history of Gringo, starting from the days he attended primary school in his home area in Rusape, Manicaland, where he was born in an area called Rukweza.

Gringo then came to Harare for his secondary education.

Gringo’s aunt, Mrs Esther Manheya (sister to Gringo’s mother), confirmed the funeral arrangements, saying a farewell ceremony for his Harare friends and fans would be held tomorrow before the body is taken to his rural home.

“We are very saddened as a family,” she said. “Gringo died around 9am yesterday when we were visiting. The funeral wake is at his brother Mr William Musakwa’s residence in Zimre Park and we have discussed as a family that tomorrow, we conduct a farewell ceremony for his friends and fans, before he leaves for Rukweza Village.

“The programme on what is going to be done at the ceremony is still being worked on, but we will involve those who are relevant in it. He will be buried on Thursday afternoon.”

She said the ceremony would be conducted at number 6653 Bvumba Road, Zimre Park.

Dr Johannes Marisa, who had undertaken to help treat Gringo following an appeal by the family last week when his condition deteriorated, said not much could have been done as the cancer had spread to other body parts.

“Gringo had stomach cancer which had already spread to some parts of the body,” he said. “We did the scan and the results came (but were not good) and like I said, I could not share with the media before the family.

“I told the family on Sunday and yesterday we had agreed to do a computerised tomography scan popularly known as ‘CT scan’. It seems he suffered a lot in the past months but did not know about his condition. It was too late for us to save him.”

In an interview yesterday from his base in South Africa, Chihombori, the man who created Gringo, said the country had lost a great character in the arts industry.

He vividly remembered his first encounter with him and said he was fun-loving, but very talented.

“We have lost a great character,” said Chihombori. “My memory with him dates back to the time we met and started shooting Gringo. He was a fun-loving and cheerful character.

“Even during the shoot when you gave him a script, he would go the extra mile being creative. He would make people feel at home by continuously cracking jokes each time he was on set.

“My experience with him in his acting career was amazing as I learnt a lot from Gringo. I will miss him dearly. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to the funeral because I am in South Africa right now, but I salute you Lazarus.”

Gringo is survived by seven children and wife Netsai.