Renowned Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey has lost the battle at the age of 77 years old. News of his death was confirmed through a statement by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. In his statement the president noted, “I have this afternoon, Sunday 2nd January 2022, received with deep sorrow the sad news of the passing away of Dr. Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, Kenya’s former head of public service. On behalf of the people of Kenya, my family and on my own behalf, I send heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and associates of Dr. Richard Leakey during this difficult period of mourning”.
Like his parents, Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey, Richard will be remembered for his work in promoting Africa as the origin of humankind. He for instance unearthed remains of a Turkana Boy in 1984 which gave the archeologists a hint that humankind originated in Africa.
Together with his three brothers Richard was born and raised in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. His love for fossil gathering began at a tender age of three and by the time he was six years old, Richard had already made his first important fossil discovery.
At just 23 years Richard won a research grant from National Geographic Society to study paleoanthropology on the shores of Lake Turkana. In 1981 Leakey had a chance to feature in a BBC television series dubbed, ‘The Making of Mankind’.
Richard would later move from a paleoanthropic to a conservationist heading one of Kenya’s most renowned institutions, the national museum. Leakey has for a long time been battling skin cancer, liver disease and kidney failure until his demise on Sunday, 2nd January 2022.
Burial of Richard Leakey
Richard was buried today, 3rd January 2022 on a hill overlooking the Great Rift Valley as per his final wish. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic the family has announced that it will not be receiving any visitors or flowers from the public.
Anyone wishing to share a message of condolence can do so at the National Museum office and that of Kenya wildlife service.