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Rest with the angels: Notable public figures who passed on in 2022

The year 2022 has been full of highlights from politics to the arts. Having a General Election to choose the next president of the country to having Luhya musician Harry Richie – who probably was not popularly known beyond the western boundaries – top most of the local charts with his song Vaida.

But apart from these there were also some sad moments when the country bid farewell to much-loved public figures.

Here are notable individuals whose passing on made big news in 2022.

Former president Mwai Kibaki

The former president died in April after a long illness. After leaving office in 2013, Kibaki retreated into private life. Even after he fell ill in 2016, the government and his family remained guarded about his failing health.

Earlier on, Kibaki had enjoyed good health most of his adult life, and was known to play golf, becoming almost a permanent fixture in the country’s club circuit until he was injured in a 2002 road accident.

Kibaki served as the third President for 10 years (2002-2013) having previously served as a Member of Parliament for 50 years (1963-2013).

Queen Elizabeth II when she attended The Queen’s Birthday Party concert on the occasion of Her Majesty’s 92nd birthday at the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 21, 2018. FILE | PHOTO

Queen Elizabeth II

The longest-serving monarch died in September. According to media reports, Queen Elizabeth had been dogged by health problems since last October that left her struggling to walk and stand.

Buckingham Palace announced her death in a short statement, triggering a 10 days of national mourning and an outpouring of tributes to her long life and record-breaking reign of 70 years.

Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne aged just 25 in 1952 in the aftermath of World War II. Her eldest son Charles, 73, has succeeded her.

Coolio died aged 59 at his Los Angeles home in the United States of America on September 28, 2022 – PHOTO: COURTESY

American rapper Coolio

Artis Leon Ivey Jr, died at the age of 59 in September. The rapper passed away at a friend’s house, his longtime manager, Jarez Posey, told the Associated Press and other outlets including TMZ, Rolling Stone and Variety.

Coolio won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for Gangsta’s Paradise, the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds that sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song Pastime Paradise and was played constantly on MTV.

In 1997, the rapper made his debut in Sub-Saharan Africa when he performed in Kenya at a sold-out concert.

The late Maina Olwenya, who was a renowned Kenyan actor. FILE PHOTO

Maina Olwenya

The celebrated actor, who is best remembered for his role in the movie Nairobi Half Life, died at a city hospital where he had been rushed for treatment after he collapse.

A postmortem conducted by his family showed that the late Olwenya succumbed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle thickens and complicates how the blood is pumped.

Although most people remember him from Nairobi Half-Life as Oti, Maina had an impressive experience in film, television, and radio.

Maina did one episode on the KBC TV show Plot 10, before joining Sisimka Productions, where he acted in Wash and Set. On the show Guy Center, he played Alex Maranga, a producer.

American rapper Takeoff

Takeoff, real name Kirshnik Khari Ball, was one-third of the rap trio Migos alongside his uncle, Quavo and cousin once removed, Offset.

According to media reports, the rapper was shot dead in Houston, Texas. sources alleged the shooting broke out over a dice game at a bowling alley.

Congolese songbird and dancer Tshala Muana. FILE PHOTO

Tshala Muana

Congolese songbird and dancer Tshala Muana died in a Kinshasa hospital following a long illness at the age of 64.

The musician, whose real name was Élisabeth Tshala Muana Muidikay, was fondly referred to as Mamu Nationale (mother of the nation). She made her name as the queen of the sexy traditional dance of Mutwashi from her Tshiluba community in the DR Congo.

Born in 1958, she had a chequered music career and later dabbled in politics. Some of her popular songs include Karibu Yangu, Dezo Dezo, Nasi Nabali, Tshibola, Lwa Touÿe, Kokola and Kalume.

Actor Gibson Mbugua of Vioja Mahakamani makes a speech during his medical fundraiser at Nairobi County Hall on June 11, 2022. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Gibson Gathu Mbugua

The late Mbugua made a name for himself in his role as the court prosecutor in the popular TV drama Vioja Mahakamani. He passed away on December 22, 2022, at the Mediheal Hospital in Eldoret after undergoing a kidney transplant in August 2022.

The veteran actor had been hospitalized for months where he was being treated for kidney failure but was able to undergo a successful surgery after former president Uhuru Kenyatta joined Kenyans in contributing Sh2million in raising funds for his treatment which cost Sh6million at the time.

The deceased is expected to be buried in January 3, 2023 at his home in Matundura village, South Kinangop in Nyandarua County.

Catherine Kasavuli
Veteran news anchor Catherine Kasavuli

Catherine Kasavuli

The queen of TV passed on December 29, 2022. In November, colleagues and friends in the media industry mobilised people to donate blood for urgent transfusion after she was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital in late October, battling cervical cancer.

Before retiring in 2015, Kasavuli was one of the first anchors to host a live TV programme for a privately held TV station in the 1990s. Ms Kasavuli returned to KBC in 2020, where she now hosts the Legend Edition show every weekend.

In this file photo taken on February 27, 2013 Pope Benedict XVI waves from the altar as he arrives on St Peter’s square for his last weekly audience at the Vatican. FILE | AFP

Pope Benedict XVI

The Vatican announced the death of Pope Benedict, 95, on December 31, hours before the New Year. The German pope emeritus, whose birth name was Joseph Ratzinger, had been living a quiet life in a former convent inside the Vatican grounds since his shock decision to step down in February 2013.

His health had been declining for a long time, but the Vatican revealed on Wednesday that his situation had worsened, while his successor Pope Francis called for Catholics worldwide to pray for him