Syrian actor Toni Mousa dies aged 66 from coronavirus complications

Star was one of Syria's most prolific actors, landing 35 television roles over the past five years alone

Syria's Tony Moussa was one the region's hardest working actors. Twitter
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One of Syria's most recognisable actors, Toni Mousa, passed away on Sunday, August 9, from complications related to Covid-19. He was 66.

The news was announced by the Syrian Artists Syndicate, who stated the actor died in Al Assad University Hospital in Damascus.

Fellow screen compatriots took to social media to praise one of Syria’s hardest-working actors, whose career spanned 35 years.

Leading the tributes was former co-star Amal Arafa, who last week also announced that she was recovering from the coronavirus.

"I knew more about him working together on the series Share' Chicago," she said. "Oh, how you were so gentle, kind and loved."

Bassem Yakhour, who shared screen time with Mousa in this year's Syrian TV drama Baseet, said: "May God have mercy on him."

Born in Damascus, Mousa entered the industry by appearing in small regional films including the 1975 Syrian drama Endima Taghib Aljawazat and 1979's Egyptian thriller Alfakhu.

Blessed with a bulky frame and deep burrowing eyes, Mousa found his mark playing strong supporting roles in dramas that often had him playing enforcers, brooding fathers or enigmatic and wise figures.

This made him a dependable actor and he racked up 35 roles television dramas in the past five years.

That hard work was really beginning to pay off in recent years, with Mousa increasingly landing meatier roles in high profile dramas such as 2019's tenth season of the hit series Bab Al-Hara and this Ramadan's popular offering Brokar.

His death is a further loss for the Syrian entertainment industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. In addition to Arafa's diagnosis, last month it was also revealed that her co-star in the drama Haress Al Qudus, veteran actor Ahmed Rafea, was also battling his own bout of the virus.

The pandemic has also led to the death of a number of high-profile cultural figures.

Those who have passed away from complications related to the coronavirus include Lebanese singer Marwan Mahfouz, who died in Damascus, aged 78 on July 25; Saudi Arabian singer Saad Al Tamimi, who died aged 93 on July 16; and Egyptian actress Ragaa Al Geddawy who died on July 5 at the age of 81.