The death of one of the country’s top business leaders Bob Collymore has shaken the nation, with tribulates trickling in from family, close friends and colleagues.
Mr Collymore, who at the time of his death was the Chief Executive at Safaricom, succumbed to cancer at the age of 61, at his home in Nairobi on Monday morning. He was receiving treatment at Aga Khan University Hospital.
Mr Collymore has been battling Acute myeloid leukaemia for two years now. It’s a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells, characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal cells that build up in the bone marrow and blood and interfere with normal blood cells.
One of his close friend, Jeff Koinange, has revealed that Collymore knew he was not going to last long as his health worsened by the day.
Speaking on Citizen TV’s Day Break show, Koinange, who is also an anchor and a host in the same station, had a chance to share Mr Collymore’s last moments.
According to Mr Koinange, Collymore’s doctors had hinted to him that if he was going to make it past July he would be very lucky.
He says, at some point, the doctors advised the Safaricom boss not to make long-time plans.
“On Saturday I was having lunch with my mother and my sister and I told them to give me an hour to go and see my friend Bob. So a group of us of about five we had known this was coming. Bob had informed us so we knew he wouldn’t last very long. He had been told by his doctors not to make long term plans. In fact, he had been told by his doctors that if he makes it past July he would be lucky,” Mr Koinange recalled.
The anchor revealed that Mr Collymore’s body was not responding very well to treatment and his wife had requested his friends to donate platelets.
The CEO better known as Bob was prepared for his death, Mr Koinange says.
“I’ve never seen anyone prepared for death as I saw in this man. We had a walk at around 3.pm and hanged up with him, he was in a bit of pain. His spine was giving him some problem. He kept saying I have lived a good life I have some regrets, nobody is perfect am ready now. He didn’t want us to leave when we bade him bye, ” he said.
A few days before his death, Mr Collymore had pleaded with the Safaricom management to name his replacement.
“He did inform those in charge to name his replacement, they were in a process of naming a new CEO, he told them that the one-year extension they had given him, he was not going to make it, ” Mr Koinanage recalls.
Mr Collymore’s death was announced by Safaricom Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a.
In the statement, Mr Ng’ang’a noted: “It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing away of Robert (Bob) William Collymore CEO Safaricom which occurred at his home.”
In October 2017, Collymore travelled to the United Kingdom to receive treatment and returned in July last year to resume his duties.
“On behalf of the Board of Safaricom, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, staff, partners and the nation at large who he served selflessly with joy,” Nganga stated.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga are among leaders who have paid tributes to the fallen CEO.
Mr Collymore is survived by his wife and four children.