Saudi Arabia remembers social media star who lost battle with cancer

Saudi users on social media lamented the fervent patient who battled cancer with a smile spreading optimism among other patients

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Jeddah is crying today. On Tuesday evening social media was flooded with condolences over the death of Hamza Iskandar, the Saudi cancer warrior, who fought cancer with a smile and by spreading hope among people.
Iskandar, who was in his mid-20s, was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia and breathed his last.

After discovering that he had gastroesophageal cancer in 2012, Iskandar launched a social media campaign, “I am fighting cancer with a smile.”
He was a motivational speaker. He supported cancer patients and motivated people with his speeches. Many people followed him on social media, not only because of his positive energy and motivational words, but also because of his smile.


For many people, Iskandar was a source of hope and positivity. So his death evoked an unprecedented outpouring of grief on social media through several hashtags. His old videos were reposted, his photos uploaded, and his tweets were retweeted.

In one of his tweets, which was retweeted, Iskandar said, “A family starts with the roots.. once you can’t establish a long term strong roots ur always a wind away to fall or bend.”

Sara Ahmed, a Saudi teenager, said that Iskandar’s videos on social media always gave her motivation and inspiration.

“Some people live to make you feel that there is kindness in this world, and give you power and hope. Iskandar was one of those people,” she said.

Another youth, Haya, tweeted: “No one is born happy, but all of us are born with the ability to create happiness. He created his own happiness.”

“RIP brother Hamza Iskandar. In my eyes you won the fight,” one of his friends wrote on tweeter.

His funeral took place in Al-Asala district in Jeddah on Wednesday.

Iskander was born with a congenital heart defect. When he was 6 years old, he had his first open heart surgery and had a mechanical valve installed. He underwent another such surgery when he was 12 years of age.

*This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Jan. 26, 2017.

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