Industrialist and entrepreneur Chris Kirubi has died at the age of 80-years, 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.
Kirubi was a director at Centum Investment Company and the largest individual shareholder of the conglomerate.
He is the chairman of 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.
He is also a non-executive director of Bayer East Africa Limited, 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 $ 300 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.
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.