A Namibian bush farmer who shot to worldwide fame in the 1980 film comedy “The God’s Must Be Crazy” died a painful death despite his celebrity status.
N!xau, whose name is pronounced with a southern African click, starred as a Kalahari bushman who found a Coca Cola bottle – an alien object to his tribe.
He was found dead near his home in 2003 in Namibia after going out to collect wood. He was believed to have been 59 years old.
“Apparently he went out to find wood on Tuesday and never returned,” Mireschen Troskie-Marx of Mimosa Films, which produced the movie, said.
“His family went out looking for him and he was found dead in a field. We believe it was of natural causes.”
The Gods Must Be Crazy showed him on a voyage of discovery in western culture and made about $66m (£40m) at box offices.
But its depiction of the remote tribes was criticised by some for reflecting the racism of apartheid South Africa.
N!xau was seen in a 1992 documentary saying he deeply regretted appearing in the film – but starred in a series of sequels until the early 1990s.
According to director Jamie Uys, N!xau was said to have let his first $300 wages blow away because he did not see the value of money.
Another story says he demanded 800,000 South African rand to appear in the sequel so he could build a house with electricity and a water pump for himself, his three wives and children.
His manager said his name was actually G!kau but was called N!xau after of a typing error when the original film was made.
In 2000, the Namibian newspaper said he farmed maize, pumpkins and beans and kept several head of cattle after his film career ended.
Troskie-Marx said: “He went to America, to Paris, to Japan. He was a world star, but he came back and he went back to his old roots.
“Nothing that was important to us was important to him.”