Former President Barack Obama‘s grandmother has died at the age of 99 after a brief illness.
Mama Sarah Onyango Obama‘s daughter shared the news Monday, saying her mother had died at a hospital in the city of Kisumu in Kenya … a family spokesperson shared that Mama Sarah had been sick for a week, but did not die of COVID-19.
The matriarch of the Obama family and second wife of Barack’s grandfather, Mama Sarah was passionate about raising money to educate girls and orphans in Kenya. She even had a foundation that fed and educated children who lost their parents.
Mama Sarah became somewhat of a celebrity in Africa during Obama’s time in The White House, even attending his inauguration in 2009. In his memoir, Barack referred to her as “Granny” and referenced a trip when he met her in the ’80s … he also mentioned her during his 2014 speech at the U.N. General Assembly.
Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, released a statement on Mama Sarah’s death, saying, “The passing away of Mama Sarah is a big blow to our nation. We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman. A matriarch who held together the Obama family and was an icon of family values.”