The family of Glasgow-based Beldina Odenyo Onassis, who performed under the stage name Heir Of The Cursed, announced that she died on Friday morning.
According to The Scotsman, the statement said: “We are devastated. Bel was so loved and will be so missed. We ask that our privacy be respected at this time of profound grief.”
Beldina, 31, who was originally from Kisumu, in Kenya, moving to Dumfriesshire as a young girl.
She was named one of Scotland’s 30 most inspiring women under 30 in 2017, when she was praised for her work about the African diaspora, her experiences of living in Scotland as a young black woman and mental health.
Beldina worked with the National Theatre of Scotland and was involved with two of the most high-profile shows at the Edinburgh festivals earlier this year.
She was also involved in a new Scottish all-female songwriting collective, Hen Hoose, which has just released its debut album, recently performed at the Scottish Album of the Year Awards in Edinburgh and had just confirmed a headline gig at Glasgow’s forthcoming Celtic Connections festival.
Beldina’s recent work included Lament For Sheku Bayoh, Hannah Lavery’s play written in response to the death of the father-of-two in police custody in Fife. She and Lavery unveiled a new live show, Blood Salt Spring, in Edinburgh last month, exploring “intergenerational trauma, in particular the legacy of colonialism, racism, and the reality of living through 2020’s political and cultural shifts and shocks.”
Posting on Twitter today, Lavery said: “My dear friend, I will miss you. I promise to always treasure and hold close the time we shared, the beautiful belonging you offered me, all your wisdom and wondrous talent. My heart is broken. It will always be broken. I will miss you forever.
Theatre company Disaster Plan, who staged the open-air Fringe show Move, which Beldina worked on, said: “We are bereft at the loss of our dear sister.