Sarah Obama, the matriarch of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s Kenyan family has died.
This was announced and confirmed by relatives and officials confirmed Monday but did not disclose the cause of death. She died aged 99.
Mama Sarah, as the step-grandmother of the former U.S. president was fondly called, was a philanthropist who promoted education for girls and orphans. She passed away around 4 a.m. local time while being treated at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital in Kisumu, Kenya’s third-largest city in the country’s west, according to her daughter Marsat Onyango.
“She died this morning. We are devastated,” Onyango told The Associated Press on a phone call.
She will be remembered for her work to promote education to empower orphans, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said while offering his condolences to the people of Kogelo village for losing a matriarch.
“She was a philanthropist who mobilized funds to pay school fees for the orphans,” he said.
Sarah Obama, was the second wife of President Obama’s grandfather and helped raise his father, Barack Obama, Sr. The family is part of Kenya’s Luo ethnic group.