Top 10 Prominent cancer victims in Kenya

In Kenya, cancer today has worried many due to the trend on the prominent people who have succumbed to cancer. It has robbed countries’ very influential and wealthy people over the last years.

Cancer is a killer disease and has taken many people from all walks of life, ranging from Politicians, journalists, and business persons.

In regards to a 2018 research by the World Health Organization, the report said that approximately 30,000 Kenyans died of cancer last year and about 40,000 new cases were reported. The statistics are alarming, and there is a need to do something.

In this article, I will highlight the Top 10 Prominent cancer victims in Kenya, which shocked Kenya.

1. Dr. Joyce Laboso

The Bomet Governor is the current victim of this killer disease. She was 58 years old and a mother of three. She died while at Nairobi Hospital after over 28 years battling with cancer.

She also went to India as well as ass in the UK to seek further treatment before coming back to Kenya Nairobi Hospital. Her death shocked Kenyan at large due to that a few people knew about her health condition.

She will and still be remembered as the first female governor I Bomet and one among the three female governors in the 2017 election in Kenya. She was viewed as a strong woman who fought the cancer journey effortlessly. She left memories to many Kenyans of a true determined lady.

2. Ken Okoth

Ken Okoth was the Kibra Member of Parliament, and he succumbed to cancer a few months ago. He was aged 41 and died after a long battle with cancer.


He was a legislator who fought with all mean colorectal cancer for several months. He was lastly rushed to Nairobi Hospital with just one wish not to be put on life support.

Okoth will be remembered as a young legislator who was viewed as a visionary leader. He used to describe himself as an educator and a humanist.

3. Bob Collymore

He was a Safaricom icon. Bob whose death came at a shock was Safaricom Chief Executive officer for nearly ten years before he died of cancer on July 1, 2019.

He was Guyanese but called Kenya his home struggled with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After he was diagnosed with the diseases, he took nine months to leave in late 2017 to undergo cancer treatment in the UK.

Earlier on Safaricom had extended his contract by one year where he has vowed to help the company diversify revenue streams. Collymore dream never came true as he died before executing the plans. He left four children and a widow.

4. Nderitu Gachagua

He was the Nyeri Governor and succumbed to pancreatic cancer in February 2017 at age 64. He was the first governor to die while in office. He had disappeared from public for over two years where he had gone to London hospital for treatment.

According to close family tributes, Gachagua was well prepared for his death and gone ahead to choose the rites N he wanted during his internment. Nyeri people and Kenya at large were shocked by his death.

5. Ben Oluoch

He was the Migori County senator and was as well as a renowned radio journalist who worked for royal Media’s Ramogi FM. The senator lost the battle to cancer years aged 55.

While at Ramogi FM, from 8 am -9 am, Okello led debates around politics and education to even agriculture and health. More so, he focused on how to help people fight HIV/AIDS, among other issues.

He influenced many people which led him to become the senator. People of Migori saw him as a visionary and humanist leader.

6. Janet Kanini

She was a very vocal journalist around her condition and was focused on beating it at all cost. She is former NTV presenter and died on April 1, 2017, after a long battle with lung cancer.
Before her death, she was declared cancer-free; however, her fate took her after her health deteriorated before her death.

7. Waweru Mburu

He was head of Radio Citizen and the voice behind one of the famous morning shows “Yaliotendeka.” He succumbed to gastric cancer at MP Shah Hospital on September 28, 2016.

Before joining Radio, Citizen Waweru was a Kiswahili teacher. He had dreams for vying for Maragua Parliamentary seat, but his dreams never came to pass.

8. Francis Nyenze

He is the former Kitui West Member of Parliament, and he died on December 6, 2017. He had battled with colon cancer for some time.

He chose to keep his health details private, making his death shocking to Kenyans and more so people of Kitui West.

9. Professor Wangari Maathai

She was recognized as the first African woman to win the Noble peace prize and was globally acclaimed environmentalist. Her death not only shocked Kenyans but also globally.

She was also Tetu Member of parliament, and on September 25, 2011, she succumbed to ovarian cancer at Nairobi Hospital aged 71.

She left a legacy of advocating for environmental protection and will be remembered for years to come. She was recognized as the first woman professor at the University of Nairobi, where she taught veterinary medicine.
Her history remains to be read by generations to come as the first woman in east and central African to obtain a Ph.D. in 1971.

10. Njenga Karume

He was a minister and Member of Parliament for Kiambaa. He died after a long fight with prostate cancer which has spread and became impossible to manage. He died on Friday, February 24, 2012.

Currently, the government has made promises to build more cancer centers in different parts of the country. The death trend on the prominent people has also trigged serious debate on the way forward about dealing with cancer.

More so the recent government to purchase cancer equipment, investing in training doctors as well as welcoming other country doctors in Kenya seems positive steps towards dealing with this menace.

The suggestions to educate Kenyans about this killer disease among other programs aims to prevent future occurrences like the ones we have witnessed recently.