By MALUM NALU
Firebrand former Morobe politician Utula Samana died at his home at 6-Mile outside Lae in the early hours of today (Sunday).
Lae-based medical doctor Mosey Sao confirmed the death of Samana, from Saigara village in Morobe Patrol Post,
Sao said the cause of death was not known, however, added that Samana had been suffering from the debilitating effects of Parkinson's Disease for the last couple of years.
Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.
Parkinson's disease most often develops after age 50.
It is one of the most-common nervous system disorders of the elderly.
Sometimes Parkinson's disease occurs in younger adults.
It affects both men and women.
Sao said he and other supporters of Samana went to 6-Mile this afternoon and took the body to the Lae International Hospital morgue.
Samana was a graduate in arts from the University of Papua New Guinea (1974) where he majored in politics and public administration.
Following his work as provincial planner and then premier of Morobe province, in July 1987, he moved into national politics when he unseated Boyamo Sali for the Morobe Regional seat.
Samana was Morobe Regional MP until 1992, when he was unseated by his longtime rival, Jerry Nalau.
He later became Secretary for Department of Agriculture and Livestock and and PNG Ambassador to the United Nations, among others.
Longtime friend and supporter, Paul Itama, said all of his friends and supporters were saddened by the sudden death.
"He was a kwila post for all of us in Morobe," he said.
"He was a very-decisive leader."
Samana is survived by his two wives and children Yaungtine, Nuki, Cher and Galiki.
Morobe provincial government is expected to take over funeral arrangements including a state funeral for Samana.
Former Samana chief-of-staff Ben Micah, now chief-of-staff to Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, is also helping with funeral arrangements.