Mountain guide Robbi Sapinggi who was killed on Mount Kinabalu following yesterday’s earthquake was concerned about safety and always put the needs of his guests before his own, organiser of the Coalition Duchenne Mount Kinabalu Expedition, Catherine Jayasuriya said today.

Jayasuriya, who is from Sabah and now based in the United States, said she tried calling Sapinggi on his handphone, including sending him a text message, after news spread on the social media that he was injured, but there was no response.

"I then called a friend in the United Kingdom, who knows Robbi well, to help me find out more. I then got a message on Facebook that he had indeed passed away, confirmed by my friend in the UK who had spoken to Robbi’s neighbour in Kampung Kiau," she added.

Coalition Duchenne brings together organisations around the world in a quest to raise global awareness on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, to fund research and find a cure for the disease.

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Jayasuriya also has a son, Dusty Brandom, who is suffering from the disease.

Jayasuriya said Sapinggi, who had taken part in four expeditions organised by Coalition Duchenne, loved meeting people, was a kind and funny person.

"During one of our expeditions, I was feeling so cold as we approached the summit, as it had been raining, and Robbi gave me his gloves and jacket to wear, leaving him just in a t-shirt.

“That was just the kind of person he was. He really cared about the safety and comfort of climbers,” she said in an email interview.

Sapinggi is featured in her documentary “Dusty’s Trail: Summit of Borneo” and includes an interview with him at his home in Kampung Kiau, where he also sang the famous “Sayang Kinabalu” song with his father.

Jayasuriya, who is Coalition Duchenne executive director, said the fifth charity climb was scheduled for Aug 7 to 9 August.

“Following this earthquake, I have been asked if the climb will proceed and at this point I am not sure, as I will wait to hear advise from (Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment) Datuk Masidi Manjun," she added.