Obama is welcomed by his paternal grandmother Sarah Obama at their rural home in Siaya, Kisumu 26 August 2006.
  • Former US President Barack Obama on Monday mourned his paternal step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, who died at 99 in a Kenyan hospital.
  • "We will miss her dearly, but we'll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life," Obama said in a tweet.
  • Sarah Obama spent decades raising money to educate girls and orphans, and was honored by the United Nations for her work in 2014.
  • See more stories on Business Insider's homepage.

Former US President Barack Obama on Monday mourned his paternal step-grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, who died at the age of 99 at a hospital in Kisumu, Kenya.

"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," he wrote in a tweet. "We will miss her dearly, but we'll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life."

Sarah Obama, known as Mama Sarah, spent decades raising money to educate girls and orphans, and was honored by the United Nations for her work in 2014. Barack Obama first met Mama Sarah, who was his grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama's third wife, during a 1988 trip to his father's home country. The former president last visited his grandmother in her home village of Kogelo in 2018.

The former president's father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., worked as a top economist for the Kenyan government and died in car accident in 1982.

A spokesman for the family, Sheik Musa Ismail, told The Associated Press that Mama Sarah was ill for a week before being hospitalized at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital in western Kenya.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also released a statement paying tribute to Obama's life.

"The passing away of Mama Sarah is a big blow to our nation," he said. "We've lost a strong, virtuous woman. A matriarch who held together the Obama family and was an icon of family values."


Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.