Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina dies aged 48

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Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina gestures during an interview with the AFP on January 27, 2014, in Nairobi. One of Africa's most powerful writers and a founder of the Nairobi-based literary network Kwani, Wainaina published a story online earlier this month that announced his sexual orientation, entitled "I am a Homosexual, Mum". Homosexuality is outlawed in Kenya, although arrests are rare. AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina gestures during an interview with the AFP in Nairobi. (Photo credit SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Internationally-renowned Kenyan author Kenneth Binyavanga Wainaina died aged 48 following a short illness at a hospital in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday night.

A local daily (Daily Nation) reported that Wainaina died after suffering a stroke citing his family and sources at his Kwani Trust.

Wainaina, who was also a gay rights activist and blogger, won the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story Discovering Home in 2002. He was named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2014.

In 2003, the Kenya Publisher’s Association honoured Wainaina for his services to Kenyan literature.

Wainaina announced he was gay in 2014 after publishing a short story titled “I am a Homosexual, Mum” sparking debate in Kenya where gay marriage is illegal.

He was admitted in a hospital in Nairobi after suffering a stroke in November 2015 and discharged three weeks later.

In 2016, Wainaina wrote on social media that he was HIV positive and happy.

In May last year, Wainaina announced plans to marry his partner, whom he said was Nigerian, in South Africa in early 2019.

Kenyans took to social media under the hashtag #RIPBinyavanga to mourn the death of the acclaimed author.

Wainaina’s death comes just before the High Court in Kenya is scheduled to deliver a ruling on Friday on whether to abolish anti-gay laws.

The court had previously postponed its decision in February this year citing a heavy workload.

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