11 Prominent Kenyans Who Have Succumbed to Cancer

  • Cancer has become a killer disease in Kenya claiming thousands of lives every year.
  • Among those who have succumbed to cancer are prominent Kenyans from all walks of life including politicians, journalists and business persons.
  • 1. Professor Wangari Muta Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and was globally acclaimed as an environmentalist.
  • In September 2011, the former Tetu MP succumbed to ovarian cancer at Nairobi Hospital aged 71 years.
  • 2. Janet Kanini Ikua a journalist and former NTV presenter succumbed in March 2017 after battling with lung cancer for over two years. The N-Soko property show host was aged 39 and was succeeded by her husband George Ikua and her two children Pedro and Jasmine who were then aged 6 and 4 years respectively.
  • 3. Former Nyeri County Governor Nderitu Gachagua succumbed to pancreatic cancer in February 2017 aged 64. This was after a two-year battle with cancer at a London hospital which had kept him away most of the time.
  • 4. Waweru Mburu, the veteran journalist who was the head of Radio Citizen and host of the show named “Yaliyotendeka” succumbed to gastric cancer in September 2016. The former Kiswahili teacher passed away at MP Shah Hospital and had by then expressed interest to join politics as a Member of Parliament. 
  • 5. Francis Nyenze, the then Kitui West MP, succumbed to colon cancer after a 10-year fight with the disease. The MP passed away in December 2017 aged 60 although he had kept the matter from the limelight.
  • 6. Migori Senator Ben Oluoch Okello died in June 2018 after a protracted battle with cancer.
  • 7. Jane Kiano, the former chairperson and founding member of Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO)succumbed to lung cancer in October 2018.Kiano was aged 74 years when she passed away at the Nairobi Hospital.
  • 8. Harrison Kiptoo, the youngest brother to DP William Ruto succumbed to kidney cancer in July 2016.The man had reportedly kept his health issues a secret and his ailment was only discovered when it had gotten out of hand although he had been under medication for a while. 9.Harvard professor Calestous Juma was a US-based Kenyan scholar who died in December, 2017 after a two-year battle with cancer. Juma died aged 64 while undergoing treatment in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 10. Kefa Oduor Tuju, a brother to CS Raphael Tuju died in December, 2018 at the age of 47 years. Oduor succumbed after a brave battle with brain cancer.
  • 11. Baringo South MP Grace Kipchoim passed away in April 2018 after succumbing from acute colon cancer. The 49-year-old passed on while undergoing treatment at Nairobi Hospital.


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