Nairobi News


Collymore bravely fought his terminal illness, but eventually succumbed

On Monday Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore succumbed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) at the age of 61 years.

When it all began, the doctors misdiagnosed him saying the cause of illness was Vitamin D deficiency.

While opening up to the public about his medical condition during an interview with Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange on August 8, 2018, Collymore narrated his battle with cancer.

“I had been feeling unwell for a while, tired and with high temperatures from time to time. The temperature would last 24 hours and then back to normal. But it got so bad that I could not make it to company events,” he said on the JKL show.

According to Collymore, he saw the first symptoms while on a trip in Morocco.

“I had this kind of a flu-like symptoms, I noted the pain in the bone of my shin. Which is not something you experience unless you kick something hard,” he recounted.


He then called his wife Wambui Kamiru and explained how he was feeling, but she thought he had Malaria because at some point he was shivering.

When he came back home from Morocco, Collymore went to see a doctor, and it’s here that he was told he had Vitamin D deficiency and was given supplements.

Unsatisfied with the diagnosis, he sought a second opinion from Dr David Silverstein at the Nairobi Hospital.

“He did 30 different blood tests that cost me $1,000 (Sh100,000) and thereafter he said ‘I don’t know where the problem is but we need to do more and I need to admit you as soon as possible.'”

Collymore said that was the first time he was being admitted to hospital.


“I went in on Monday and he said I had to do a bone marrow. They actually took bone marrow out and tested,” he recounted.

It is at this point that Dr Silverstein told him that the problem could be with this blood. But since he was not an expert on such issues, he referred him to a specialist in the United Kingdom.

The year was coming to an end and the general election was fast approaching. Collymore wanted to wait a bit longer but the doctor wanted him out of the country immediately.

He left the country in October 2017 to seek treatment in the UK, and it’s there that a hematologist diagnosed him with AML: a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow.

After the treatment he returned to Kenyan, resumed work and even had his tenure extended by a year. His tenure was extended to compensate for the time he was away seeking treatment. He was set to retire in 2020.