Mao Ayuth, a veteran filmmaker turned secretary of state at the Ministry of Information, has passed away while undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh on April 15, according to ministry spokesman Phos Sovann. He was 77 years old.
"I'm not sure about the cause of his death. He passed away at nearly 7 o'clock while receiving treatment for Covid-19," Sovann said.
Ayuth, a resident of Boeung Raing commune in Phnom Penh's Daun Penh district, was admitted to the hospital on April 5 after testing positive for Covid-19.
Before taking public office, Ayuth was among a number of outstanding Cambodian artists, having produced an abundance of hit movies, the most recent of which were the award-winning action film "The Crocodile" released in 2003 and the historical drama "Loung Preah Sdech Korn" in 2016.
Ayuth was also well-known for producing a series of music videos, poems and novels.
"My heart goes out to Mao Ayuth, our country's key figure in national broadcasting and filmmaking industry," said Kem Gunawath, former director-general of the National Television of Cambodia, in his Facebook post on April 15.
In observance of social distancing measures amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, the information ministry's leadership and officials could only pay tribute to Ayuth from afar.