The Obama family is mourning the loss of one of the former president’s aunts this week.
According to reports, 80-year-old Mama Hawa Obama died early Thursday at her home in Kenya.
Months after death of Obama’s step-grandmother
As Metro noted, she returned home just five days earlier after a stay in the hospital related to ongoing health problems.
The sister of the ex-president’s father, Mama Hawa Obama’s death came just months after that of her own mother, Mama Sarah Onyango Obama.
Another of Barack Obama’s aunts from Kenya, Zeituni Onyango, died about seven years ago at a rehabilitation center in Massachusetts following treatment for cancer and respiratory issues.
Onyango moved to the United States in 2000 and was granted asylum in 2010 after her nephew was elected president.
Although the two met in Kenya in 1988 and she attended his inauguration more than 20 years later, it is unclear whether they developed a close relationship. Barack Obama did mention her in his first memoir, Dreams from My Father.
“We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman”
As for Mama Hawa Obama, Kenyan news outlets cited her son — the former president’s cousin — Razick Amuna in confirming her death.
Amuna reportedly informed reporters that she was buried on the same day of her death in her small village per Islamic customs. Although the exact cause of her death was not immediately revealed, her family noted that she had been in declining health since suffering a stroke more than two years ago.
Despite the physical distance between the ex-president and his aunt, the recent loss combined with the death of his step-grandmother just months earlier is sure to be difficult for him and his family. As a result, the Obamas would likely appreciate the thoughts and prayers of the American people — regardless of their political or ideological differences.
In March, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta offered a public statement reflecting the important legacy that Sarah Onyango Obama left behind in the country.
“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.”