Home » Storied Kenyan tycoon Chris Kirubi passes away at 80

Storied Kenyan tycoon Chris Kirubi passes away at 80

by Mfonobong Nsehe

Kenyan industrialist Christopher Kirubi has died at 80 after a protracted battle with cancer. Kirubi had suffered from the illness since 2017.

According to a statement published by the businessman’s family, Kirubi died at his home in Nairobi at 1 pm. 

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Christopher J. Kirubi, who passed away today at 1 pm at his home after a long battle with cancer fought with fortitude, grace and courage. He was surrounded by his family,” his family said in a statement. The mogul left behind two children. 

Kirubi was Kenya’s most recognizable businessman. His empire spanned media, real estate, manufacturing, banking and insurance. 

Kirubi began building his fortune in the early 1970s. After leaving formal employment at Kenatco, a government-owned transport company, he acquired run-down commercial and residential properties in Nairobi, using loans from Kenyan financial institutions. 

He renovated the buildings and flipped them for a profit. Kirubi then used the money he made to acquire land in Nairobi’s choicest areas and erected commercial and residential structures there. 

He owned the International House building in Nairobi, one of the city’s most recognizable landmark skyscrapers and was one of the country’s largest owners of landed property. 

Kirubi was also the largest shareholder in Centum Limited, a Nairobi Stock Exchange-listed investment firm, holding a 39-percent stake. 

He also owned Capital Group, a media group and the parent company of Nairobi’s popular Capital FM. Kirubi often worked as a deejay in the radio station in his free time and went by the nickname, “DJ CK.”

Kirubi was the owner of Haco Industries, one of Kenya’s largest consumer goods manufacturers. He acquired the company in 1998, a small consumer goods distribution company owned by a Dutch trading house. He transformed the company from a distributor of U.S. and British brands into one of East Africa’s largest manufacturers of consumer products, manufacturing everything from hair creams to pens.

Before his death, Kirubi wished his Twitter followers a fruitful week ahead.

“Top of the morning to you, my dear friend. It doesn’t have to be a tiring Monday. Instead, I bring to you good tidings of favour, success, achievements, and happiness in the new week,” he wrote six hours ago. “Give yourself a go towards your success plan. Enjoy today and the rest of your week.”

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