By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama’s has lost his step-grandmother, Sarah Obama. She died at a hospital in Kenya at the age of 99.
Marsat Onyango, the daughter of Mama Sarah Obama, who confirmed her death told media that her mother had been ailing for some time.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who sent a condolence message to the family described her death as a blow to the nation.
“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.”
“She was a loving and celebrated philanthropist who graciously shared the little she had with the less fortunate in her community,” he added.
Although not a blood relation, President Obama often referred to Sarah as his grandmother, calling her “granny”.
On his trip back to Kenya as US president, he met with her among other family members in Nairobi.
After leaving office, he travelled to her home in the village of Kogelo in 2018, joking he had been unable to do so in 2015 as his jet was too big to land in Kisumu.
Obama is linked to his Kenyan family via his father Barack senior, a pipe-smoking economist who Obama has admitted he “never truly” knew.
The late Sarah Obama also defended the former US president 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.
Sarah Obama was the third and youngest wife of Barack Obama’s grandfather.
She will be buried later today.