A Nigerian man Andrew Ekpang has died a year after reuniting with his daughter in Scotland for the first in 39 years. Laura Aker, 40, was, however, left devastated after her father died two weeks before their story could be broadcast on the TV show Long Lost Family Christmas Reunion.
Ekpang and Susan met while he was undergoing nautical training in Scotland, but his visa ran out and he had to return to Nigeria. Ms Aker had grown up thinking that her stepfather was her dad – until she discovered a letter her real father had written to her mum Susan. She was just 13 when she found the note. In the letter, he asked Susan to tell Laura that “Daddy loves her” and that he would one day return to Scotland to see her. Aker and her father were reunited on ITV’s Long Lost Family Christmas Reunion last year. The show’s researchers found his son Nten on Facebook and made contact.
Ekpang collapsed the week he was due to fly to Scotland – and his daughter was ready to give up hope. But the man got out of hospital and travelled with Nten three weeks later to tell his daughter that he loved her. Shortly before the two were due to meet again in Scotland, Aker discovered that her father had passed away. In moving scenes broadcast on Long Lost Family Christmas Reunion on Monday, viewers saw Aker and Nten who decided to come as a duo, in order to celebrate their father’s life.
“The evening before, he had his dinner and he went to bed. He never woke up,” Nten said of how their father died. He went on to explain that meeting his daughter had given Ekpang peace, saying: “I’m happy that what he’d really, endlessly wanted to do before he died was to see Laura. And that happened. He told me on the day of the reunion: ‘I can die now.’”