NAIROBI, Kenya July 18 – Popular TV actor Papa Shirandula is dead.
Papa Shirandula, whose real name is Charles Bukeko, died on Saturday morning in what the family linked to COVID-19.
His family said he passed on at Karen Hospital where he was rushed for emergency treatment after experiencing breathing difficulties.
“He died on arrival in hospital even before he could be admitted,” his brother-in-law Charles Wanyama said, “he had been in his rural home in Western Kenya where he fell ill.”
He had tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, and even went into isolation but his condition was worsened on Saturday when he started having breathing difficulties.
He died on the day Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced that the country’s death toll from the virus had risen to 225, with 12,750 positive cases.
His widow Beatrice Atamba and other family members had rushed him to hospital when he was declared dead on arrival. Public health officials said all his close contacts will be traced and placed on self-isolation and testing for COVID-19. It was not immediately clear why medics allowed him to be on self isolation after testing positive for the virus, even as reports indicated that he may have had an underlying condition like Diabetes.
The deceased was popular for the CITIZEN TV series Papa Shirandula where he was the main actor.
Royal Media Services Managing Director Wachira Waruru said he received news of Bukeko’s passing with shock and disbelief.
“On behalf of the Royal Media Services, I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the family and friends of popular TV actor, Charles Bukeko who passed away this morning,” he said in a statement.
Waruru described Bukeko’s death as a “big loss not only to the Royal media family and Kenya’s acting fraternity but also to the country as a whole.”
His legacy and contribution to Kenya’s TV industry, he said, will continue to impact many generations to come.
Presisident Uhuru Kenyatta mourned Bukeko as a “gifted storyteller whose contribution to the development of Kenya’s entertainment sector will be cherished forever.”
Deputy President William Ruto said “we are heartbroken. Bukeko was a towering talent and skilful actor.”
Condolences were also sent to the family by Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka among others.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Film Classification Board, Ezekiel Mutua said Bukeko was a “self-made man who epitomised the joy and optimism of Kenyans.”