The family of Mama Sarah Onyango-Obama has clarified that she did not die of COVID-19 complications.
Mama Sarah, the step-grandmother to former US President Barack Obama, died on Monday morning at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, where she was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit.
Speaking on behalf of the family outside Ward 7 of the facility, the Chairperson of Kisumu Muslims Association, Sheikh Musa Ishmael, said that Mama Sarah has been sick for a few weeks.
“Mama has not died of Covid-19 related issues and we want to clarify that she has been sick for some time. She was transferred to the hospital after deliberations with Kisumu Governor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o,” said Sheikh Musa, who was accompanied by Said Obama, Mama Sarah’s step-son.
She will be interred tomorrow (Tuesday, March 30) at her Kogelo village home in Siaya County.
“Islamic traditions require that the body is interred immediately after the confirmation of death, but for this case the family of Mama Sarah have requested for more time so that those who reside within Nairobi and other far flanks can travel home to attend the burial,” Sheikh Musa told The Standard.
Mama Sarah died at the age of 99. “I still feel young at heart, I can still dance very well like I did when I was a young girl,” she said when celebrating a past birthday at her home in Nyang’oma Village, Kogelo, Siaya County.
She kept a low profile after President Obama left office concentrating on philanthropy. Her focus was orphans, vulnerable children and widows.
Mama Sarah was the third wife of President Obama’s paternal grandfather. She was thrust into international fame in 2004 when Obama became the Senator for Illinois, and later President.