Ace broadcaster and sports journalist, Mr. Yinka Craig 60, gave into the cold hands of death yesterday morning around 6am at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, United States after a two-year battle with cancer.
Olamide his son wrote on his website and the statement reads thus,
“It is with a heavy heart, and joy at God‘s perfect will that I announce the passing on to glory of my father, teacher, mentor and friend, Mr. Olayinka Babasanya Craig, who went to be with the Lord at 6.00am this (Tuesday) morning.
“He was a pioneer radio and television broadcaster, sports journalist extraordinaire and a national icon.”
It would be recalled that Craig was flown to the US in May 2008 for a Stem Cell transplant, a medical procedure that became necessary as a result of cancer of the bone marrow.
Last week, on the same website, www.yinkagraig.org, Olamide called for prayers for his father, explaining that he was currently in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, as a result of some complications arising from the procedure.
A radio and television broadcaster with about 40years experience, Craig had, for the past two years, struggled to survive the disease.
His condition reportedly worsened because doctors had consistently misdiagnosed it in Nigeria. His type of lymphatic cancer, the Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas, is, according to doctors, more problematic.
He was reported to have been treated twice in the United Kingdom before he later returned to Nigeria only to relapse.
It was the quest for survival that took him to the US where he eventually passed on.
Earlier in the year, an appeal fund was launched on his behalf to raise about N38m needed for his treatment. The Lagos State Government gave N15m.
Other eminent Nigerians, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa‘adu Abubakar III, and some industrialists also offered assistance.
Craig is survived by his wife, Kehinde, a medical doctor, Olamide, Olayinka and a daughter, Temilola.
A statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, said Fashola received the news of the ace broadcaster’s demise with shock.
According to him, the governor and the entire people of Lagos State feel the pain of the loss particularly because Craig lived in Lagos virtually all his life.
The statement reads in part, “It was here (Lagos) that he attained professional excellence as a first-class broadcaster and sports enthusiast.
“He was a mobile encyclopedia of sports and one of the most versatile journalists of his generation who was a mentor and role model for millions of youths,” Bamidele said.
While Fashola expressed his condolence to his widow, children and all his loved ones, he also assured that the state government would support the family in ensuring that he was given a befitting burial as a great, accomplished and patriotic Nigerian.
A member of the House of Representatives and Craig’s former colleague at the Nigerian Television Authority, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the news of his death was a terrible one.
She said, “It is very unfortunate that he died at this time. I spoke with his doctor two weeks ago and he assured me there was hope.
But it is unfortunate that he died.
“My husband and I were with him at the National Hospital, Abuja, before he left the country. Even on his sick bed, he was full of life and humour.”