A spokesman for the family, Sheik Musa Ismail, told The Associated Press that Mama Sarah was ill for a week before being hospitalized at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital in western Kenya.
Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president, paid tribute to Sarah Obama on Twitter.
“The passing away of Mama Sarah is a big blow to our nation,” he tweeted. “We’ve lost a strong, virtuous woman. A matriarch who held together the Obama family and was an icon of family values.”
She will be remembered for her work to promote education to empower orphans, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said. He also offered his condolences to the people of Kogelo village for losing a matriarch.