I received an SMS message from my sister, Kak Ton (Mariah) after Maghrib that Uncle Samani had passed away earlier this evening.
Uncle Samani suffered a heart attack and died at 6.55pm at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang.
He was 78 and leaves behind his wife and four children.
My heart sank. Innalillahi Wainnalillahi Rajiuun.
I was just on the phone with Uncle Samani on Monday to ask him whether he was up to taking part in a seminar "Pemikiran A Samad Ismail" scheduled to be held next month.
Uncle Samani had worked with Bapak since the early days of Berita Harian in the late 50s.
Perhaps, that worked against him when the government decided to arrest Bapak under the Internal Security Act in 1976. Uncle Samani who was then Berita Harian news editor was also taken in, accused of being Bapak's henchman in the alleged communist plot to topple the government.
I wrote about Uncle Samani in one of my "Tuesdays With Bapak" postings HERE.
When I called Uncle Samani on Monday, his wife, Kak Azizah, picked up the phone. Uncle Samani who lived in Klang with his family, was busy attending to his "dusun".
When we spoke, he told me he was keen but it was a case of the spirit being willing, but the body not being up to it.
He asked me for details of the event. He said if he was not able to participate, he would like to attend it anyway.
He sounded tired. He suggested that I also call another former Berita Harian journalist, Pak Cik Asni, to take part in the seminar. He was sure Pak CikAsni would be more than keen to be part of the event.
"You remember Asni..Dia kerja sama-sama di Berita Harian," Uncle Samani said and gave me Pak Cik Asni's number.
I promised that I'd call Pak Cik Asni.
I know Uncle Samani was never the same after he was released from ISA detention.
My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Kak Azizah, Marx Aidied, Mus Chairil, Mas Dati and Mas Elati.