(File pix) Datuk Mahadzir Lokman. Pix by Shazreen Zamzuri

KOTA KINABALU: Ever the consummate gentleman, local television personality Datuk Mahadzir Lokman sent out good morning texts via a WhatsApp group to his friends shortly before he passed away today.

The legendary television anchor and master of ceremonies, famed for his distinguished voice and gentle demeanour, was found dead in his hotel room in Kota Kinabalu around 9.30am.

He was 61.

Mahadzir, affectionately known as Dale to his friends, had arrived in Kota Kinabalu on July 31 for work matters, accompanied by the family of a close friend.

Prior to his death, Mahadzir had gone out for dinner with the friend’s family and returned to his room about 10.40pm yesterday.

District police chief Assistant Commissioner Habibi Majinji said Mahadzir had sent out the texts to his friends at 5am.

“About 9.30am, his friend rang him but he didn’t answer. Out of concern, the friend sought help from the hotel management to open the room door.

“They found Mahadzir unconscious. He was later pronounced dead by a doctor from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital,” he said.

Habibi said police’s investigation showed no signs of foul play. He said Mahadzir’s death could be due to his previous health problems but noted that the probe is ongoing.

Mahadzir’s remains were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It is learnt that Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal arrived at the hospital morgue at 1.55pm.

Meanwhile, Mahadzir’s colleagues and friends expressed their sorrow over his passing.

Former TV3 presenter, Tengku Elida Bustaman, paid tribute to Mahadzir via Twitter.

“My dear teacher when I first started in TV3, Dato Mahadzir Lokman, has just passed away. I join so many people in cherishing his good deeds.

“Allahumma firlahu warhamhu wa`afihi wa`fu `anhu. May Allah SWT place him among the righteous and deepest condolences to his loved ones,” she wrote.

Singer and presenter Adibah Noor shared her memories of Mahadzir.

“Whenever we were in the same show... he never failed to introduce us as ‘your big, strong and friendly emcee and entertainer’. You are my inspiration Abang Del. Have always been in awe of how you host events. Always aspired to be as great as you. Al fatihah.. Dato Mahadzir Lokman,” she wrote.

Actress Maya Karin also penned her thoughts on the iconic TV personality.

“AlFatihah Datuk Mahadzir Lokman. He was kind to me when I was 17 and slightly scared of my first theatre main role in Malaysia,” she wrote.

Mahadzir’s health problems made the news last year when he was admitted to the intensive care unit of the University Malaya Medical Centre due to lung and kidney complications.

It is understood that Mahadzir’s sister, Ida Lokman, is making arrangements to bring his remains back to Petaling Jaya.