The matriarch of former US president Barack Obama’s Kenyan family has died, relatives have confirmed.
Sarah Obama was Mr Obama’s step-grandmother and was being treated in hospital in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, when she passed away. She was at least 99 years old.
Sarah Onyango Obama was a Kenyan educator and philanthropist. She was the third wife of the paternal grandfather of U.S. president Barack Obama. She was fondly known by her short name as Sarah Obama; sometimes referred to as Sarah Ogwel, Sarah Hussein Obama, or Sarah Anyango Obama.
Affectionately called Granny Sarah by the former president, Mrs Obama defended her grandson during his 2008 presidential campaign, when he was said to be Muslim and not born in the US. Her home became a tourist attraction when he was elected as the first black US president.
The nonagenarian was the third wife of Hussein Onyango Obama, the father to Barack Hussein Obama Senior- the father to the celebrated ex-US head of state. She is expected to be laid to rest today (Monday) at Muslim Cemetery in Kisumu.
In recognition of her work, she was honoured by the United Nations in 2014, receiving the inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Education Pioneer Award.
Her daughter, Marsat Onyango, said she died at 4am local time at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital. She added: “We are devastated.”