Less than a month ago, Barry Steenkamp had planned the commemoration of the 40th birthday of his daughter Reeva, who was shot dead by her partner, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
On Thursday, he died unexpectedly in his sleep at the age of 80.
“June (his wife) and the rest of the family are in a state of shock because they did not expect this at all. His health had always been a problem but there was no illness when he died,” the family’s lawyer and spokesperson, Tania Koen, told News24 on Friday.
His wife, her daughter from a previous marriage, and Barry’s son from a previous marriage, were in mourning and did not want to speak to the media, Koen said.
Koen said Barry was not in the best state of health over the past few years, but that he was not ill at the time of his death.
Koen, who has been representing the family for years and formed a close relationship with them, described him as a “teddy bear.”
He was a loving person and he always carried his heart and emotions on his sleeve. He was very emotional over Reeva’s death and so loyal, he could just never get over her death.
She added that when the family celebrated what would have been Reeva’s 40th birthday on 19 August, her father did all of the planning himself.
“Barry wanted to do everything himself. He bought the balloons, he was the one who picked up the cake and food. He felt that he needed to do all the planning himself. It was such a bittersweet event for him and June,” she said.
Last month the Steenkamp family celebrated what would have been Reeva’s 40th birthday.
She added that he was proud of the work the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation was doing.
“He was glad that Reeva’s legacy could live on through the foundation.”
The couple used to own a bar in Gqeberha, The Barking Spider Pub and Grub, but sold it to Gerald Wasserman two years ago.
Barry and June Steenkamp used to own The Barking Spider Pub and Grub in Gqeberha.
Wasserman said Barry was “a soft soul” and “a gentleman”.
He used to help out at the bar for a few months after selling it to help Wasserman to ensure a smooth transition.
“He was such a patient man and had way more patience than I could ever have,” Wasserman said.
Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, but the Supreme Court of Appeal later overturned it and replaced it with a murder conviction.
He had a parole hearing in March but the parole board found that Pistorius had not served the “minimum detention period” necessary to qualify for release.
The board said it would consider his parole again in August 2024.