Family mourns death of "superman" baby

A 15-month-old baby, described by his family as "superman," has become one of the latest suspected measles death.

The 15-month-old, Seluka Utumapu, Vailoa, was described as the “superman” of the family, and his sudden passing at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital (T.T.M.H.) on Monday has shocked family members.

The father of the deceased, Alex Lee Cheung, told the Samoa Observer his son had the measles symptoms for four days.

He said his death is a wake up call for him as a young father as he did not see it coming.

"I never expected this to happen, especially to this one because he was our family's superman as he's always filled with so much strength and joy," he said, while fighting back tears.

It is believed the baby got the infection from his older brother, who was initially diagnosed with measles.

He is on his way to full recovery, his father said.

In light of the death, the family has decided to leave their home and move to the village to stay with other relatives. 

"Staying at home and seeing where he used to play and laugh, would only give us more pain and heartaches, so it is best for us to leave at this time," Mr. Cheung said.

As family members gathered at the hospital morgue to view the body, the baby’s father wandered away from the mourning family members and relatives, in a bid to steer clear of the crying and wailing. 

Mr. Cheung said the death of his son made him realise that he rarely spends time with his family, and the opportunity to make up for it with Seluka is now lost. 

"I traveled a lot and rarely spend time with my family," he said. 

"And now that my youngest is gone, it's the biggest regret of my life.

"I want to make up for the times I've lost being with my son but it's too late.

Be there for your children and your family while they're alive (is good) because death is a flash in the dark. We don't know when it comes."

Seluka's death is among the latest measles suspected deaths.

As of Tuesday evening, the measles suspected death toll stood at 17.

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?