John Amutabi [Photo: Courtesy]

Singer John Amutabi Nzenze, one of Kenya’s last surviving legends of Twist, is dead. He was 80.

The legendary artist who belted out golden tunes and personified the genre in the 60s with hits such as Angelike, Twist ni Nzuri and Kuoa ni Kuzuri died at Mukumu Mission Hospital, Kakamega County on Saturday, May 30 after a month in the facility.

The veteran singer who composed among others; Marashi ya River Road, Amina Twist, Rebeca Wanisumbua, Usiwache Masomo, Habiba Ninakupenda and Ndugu Zangu before taking to the sunset in 2016 after over four decades in the industry, had been admitted with stomach ulcers and hypertension.

The Vihiga County native who started out in Nairobi and made a name for himself in an era glazed by other notable stars such as Daudi Kabaka (1939–2001), Fadhili Williams (1938-2001), Gabriel Omolo (1938*-2018), John Mwale and George Agade alongside bands; Them Mushrooms, Orchestre Mangelepa, Maroon Commandos, Orchestre Super Mazembe and Everest Kings, underwent surgery and was said to be recuperating well.

“He has been having stomach ulcers that have disturbed his health for quite some while. When we eventually took him to hospital, it was found that he had other problems with his prostate that called for an operation,” said his sister Mary Mwanga.

Celebrating the singer, who according to his brother lived modestly despite his immense contribution to the country’s heritage, Kenyans eulogized him as an icon whose memory will live on by the gift of his music, encapsulated in the memories and hearts of generations he influenced.

Below are some of the condolence messages: