The family of renowned investor Christopher John Kirubi (Chris Kirubi) on Monday, June 14 confirmed his death after a long illness.
Kirubi was 80 years old – and was known for his wide-ranging investments in companies including Centum Plc and Capital FM (Capital Group Limited).Capital FM, where he was also a deejay under the name DJ CK – was first to confirm the news of his passing, citing an announcement by the family.
He is the single-largest shareholder of Centum Investments with a 28.64% stake. He has sat on the boards of several companies in Kenya, in addition to taking on public appointments including chairing the Brand Kenya board.
He chaired 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 was also non-executive director of Bayer East Africa Limited, UAP Provincial Insurance Company Limited and Beverage Services of Kenya Limited.
Kirubi had previously opened up on his difficult battle with Cancer of the colon and was flown to the United States in November 2017 for four months of treatment after being diagnosed. In a video to investors, managers and board members of Centum Investment, where he was chairman, Kirubi stated his cancer was discovered early enough to be managed successfully.
“See me as a reminder that cancer can be cured,” he stated at the time.
Photos of a frail Kirubi had in 2018 been widely shared across social media – leading to a flood of messages from well-wishers.
The last tweet sent out on his official account, at 8.14 am on Monday, June 14, read: “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. Give yourself a go towards your success plan. Enjoy today and the rest of your week.”
Kirubi hails from Murang’a County, and despite coming from a humble background managed to build an empire estimated to be worth more than Ksh40 billion.
He also ran a youth mentorship program known as Ask Kirubi.
His professional career began as a Salesman for Shell, after which he joined government-owned transportation company KENATCO.
Around 1971, he began buying run-down buildings in Nairobi and Mombasa, renovating them and either selling the renovated structures or renting them out. He also began acquiring prime land and proceeded to erect rental and other commercial properties.