Following a brief illness, former President Barack Obama's grandmother has died at the age of 99. The daughter of the family's matriarch delivered the sad news that her mother died at a hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. A spokesperson for the family confirmed that she did not die of COVID-19.
My family and I are mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as “Mama Sarah” but known to us as “Dani” or Granny. We will miss her dearly, but we’ll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life. pic.twitter.com/avDY4f1PVu
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 29, 2021
Mama Sarah was the second wife of Barack's grandfather and was passionate about raising money for the education of girls and orphans in Kenya. She even created a foundation that provided meals and education to children who had lost their parents.
During her grandson's time in the White House, Mama Sarah became a quasi-celebrity in Africa. Barack often references her in his memoir, calling her "Granny" and referencing a trip when they first met in the '80s.
The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, made a statement on Mama Sarah's passing, 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."
Her former president grandson tweeted about her death, saying, My family and I are mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as "Mama Sarah" but known to us as "Dani" or Granny. We will miss her dearly, but we'll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life."