Sunday, October 23, 2016

Achieng Abura Death: Kenyans Pay Tribute to Music Star
21 October 2016
BBC World Service

Kenya's Afro-jazz singer Achieng Abura performs one of her songs at the Nairobi's Carnivore 13 March 2004 restaurant, where she is trying to popularise her music especially among the youth who are used to the hip-hop style.Image copyrightAFP

Tributes are pouring in for Kenya's afro-jazz star Achieng Abura after she died of an undisclosed illness at a hospital in Nairobi on Thursday.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta described her as an "inspiring figure" whose death was a "big blow".

She was the lead singer of the main anthem for celebrations marking the adoption a new constitution in 2013.

A fellow singer said her death was cruel at a time when her son, who had sickle cell disease, "needed her most".

"The gap she has left will never be filled," Princess Jully told Kenya's Standard newspaper.

The newspaper quoted a family source as saying that Ms Abura was admitted to the intensive care unit, before she died on Thursday.

On 7 October, Ms Abura wrote on her Facebook account that she had lost more than 50kg (eight stone) in the last three years and she felt weak.

"Walking is a problem with pains all over. Doctor says I must add 30kg then lose it as I exercise and firm up," she wrote.

"The irony of life. I was not even losing weight intentionally! I allowed life to get the better of me. Learn from my mistakes." she added.

Ms Abura started as a gospel singer, releasing her debut album, I Believe, in 1990. She later branched out into afro-jazz and afro-fusion, with her last album, Rebirth, released earlier this year.

In a statement, Mr Kenyatta said her death was a deep loss to the nation.

"But even as we mourn Ms Abura, let us also celebrate her life and achievements. She was a good and inspiring figure in the music industry, and a great mentor to upcoming musicians," he added.

The Standard newspaper reports that popular signer Suzzana Owiyo visited Ms Abura in hospital on Wednesday and described her condition as unstable.

Kenya had lost one of it "greatest" musicians, it quoted Ms Owiyo as saying.

Ms Abura's exact age was unclear, but she was believed to be in her early fifties when she died.

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