Former News Presenter Riz Sunawan Passes Away At 44, Bravely Battled ALS For Years

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Former Radio Host & News Presenter Riz Sunawan Passes Away On 8 Feb

Mohamad Asri Sunawan, better known as Riz Sunawan, is a household name in Singapore, having been a radio host and newscaster at Channel NewsAsia (CNA) and Berita Mediacorp for over 12 years.

But the well-loved host was unfortunately diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2018.


After more than four years of battling and raising awareness for the disease, the 44-year-old passed away on Wednesday (8 Feb).

According to Berita Harian, he passed away in his home.

Riz Sunawan passes away on 8 Feb morning

On Wednesday (8 Feb), Mr Asri’s loved ones announced via Instagram that the former newscaster had passed away earlier that morning.

riz sunawan passes away

Source: @rizsunawan on Instagram

In the caption, they wrote that Mr Asri, who was their “dear friend, bro, son, and #MNDWarrior”, had lost the battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

However, they said the 44-year-old had shown strength in the face of adversity and inspired those around him to live to the fullest.

Diagnosed with ALS in 2018

Mr Asri was an award-winning newscaster, journalist, voice talent, host, and later in his life, an active advocate for raising awareness for MND.

For 12 years, he worked at CNA and Berita Mediacorp as a well-loved radio and television personality. In 2015, he moved to the civil service, reported The Pride.

Source: @rizsunawan on Instagram

But in Oct 2018, he received a life-altering diagnosis — he had ALS, a degenerative MND with no cure.

In an Instagram post, he recalled how the doctor told him ALS patients can continue to live for another two to five years.

According to SingHealth, ALS is the most common form of MND and affects about 300 to 400 people in Singapore.

Patients will develop difficulty walking, talking, swallowing, and eventually breathing.

Raised awareness for MND

Over the years, the disease caught up with Mr Asri who gradually had to get around on crutches and eventually, was bedridden.

But despite his limitations, Mr Asri never backed down and was determined to contribute to the community to the best of his abilities.

In Apr 2021, he co-founded MND Association Singapore. The association aimed to allow every MND patient and caregiver to live their lives with dignity, care, and hope.

AsiaOne reported that Mr Asri would also often be invited to motivational talks where he talked openly about his battle with ALS.

Most recently, on 16 Dec 2022, he co-wrote a bilingual book, ‘My Name is Riz. I have Motor Neurone Disease’ to raise awareness about MND.

The book also helps to defray Mr Asri’s medical expenses which cost up to S$3,000 a month.

Besides co-writing it, Mr Asri also translated the whole book. And he did it all using an eye-operated assistive device.

riz sunawan passes away

Source: @rizsunawan on Instagram

Speaking to TODAY last year, he said the book was his legacy for future generations, giving hope to struggling individuals and inspiring others to live life to the fullest.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mr Asri and his family. Though he might no longer be with us, we’re sure he will live on through the contributions and legacy he left behind.

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Featured images adapted from @rizsunawan on Instagram and

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