Industrialist and entrepreneur Chris Kirubi has died at the age of 80 years after a long illness, his media company Capital FM and family confirm.
The businessman was flown to the US in November 2017 where he was hospitalised for four months after being diagnosed with colon cancer. At the time, he said the cancer was detected early enough to be managed successfully.
He leaves behind two children, Robert Kirubi and Mary-Ann Musangi.
Kirubi was a director at Centum Investment Company and the largest individual shareholder of the conglomerate.
He was the chairman of Brand Kenya, DHL Express Kenya Limited, Haco Industries Kenya Limited, Kiruma International Limited, International House Limited, Nairobi Bottlers Limited, Sandvik East Africa Limited and 98.4 Capital FM.
Chris Kirubi is associated with Two Rivers Mall, which was his last publicly known big project.
He was also the deputy chairman of Bayer East Africa Limited, and a non-executive director UAP Provincial Insurance Company Limited and Beverage Services of Kenya Limited.
In 2011 Forbes ranked him as the second richest Kenyan. In their estimation, Kirubi was the 31st richest African with a net worth of USD300 million. In 2012, Forbes however dropped the billionaire from the list of Africa's 40 richest.
Chris Kirubi was born to poverty and was orphaned at an early age forcing him to work during school holidays to support himself and his siblings.
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It is said that after graduation, he worked as a gas cylinder salesman for energy giant Shell.
In the 1960s and 1970s, he worked with the defunct giant parastatal Kenya National Transport Company (KENATCO) as an administrator.
Once bitten by the business bug, he started off by buying, renovating and selling run-down properties in Kenya’s major towns.
A flamboyant businessman, Kirubi, was popular with the youth who nicknamed him DJ CK. This, because he would accompany continuity announcers at his Capital FM radio station and play tunes for his listeners.
He was also a popular figure at high-end parties, therefore a wealthy socialite.
At his garage, you would find pricy vehicles including a Maybach, a spanking red Porsche, a customised Range Rover and a Bentley with the registration number CK X.
Three years ago, word had it that Kirubi was flown by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation to try out a Dassault Falcon 2000LXS business jet worth over Sh3.4 billion.
In recognition of his business acumen, Kirubi served on the National Economic and Social Council which was responsible for crafting Kenya’s current blueprint for growth, Vision 2030, under President Kibaki’s regime.
He also worked with the Government of Ghana as a Board Member of the Investors’ Advisory Council and as Ghanaian Honorary Consul General in Kenya (2000 to 2008) and was the Honorary Counsel to the Republic of Mauritius in Kenya.
Chris Kirubi mentored the youth through online authorship and physical talks in his programme dubbed Ask Kirubi.
Life offers many great choices, all you have to do is see them. No matter what happened in our past, mistakes we have made, life will give us a second chance. Let’s change for a better version by making different choices and doing things differently. #AskKirubi — Chris Kirubi (@CKirubi) June 10, 2021