Binyavanga Wainaina, a Kenyan author and gay rights activist, passed away on Wednesday, May 22 at the age of 48. According to a report from BBC, a friend and colleague informed the outlet that Wainaina died late Tuesday night from an undisclosed illness.
In 2014, the author was named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Wainaina was known for his activism regarding gay rights in Africa and was one of the most well-known authors on the continent.
“All people have dignity. There’s nobody who was born without a soul and a spirit,” he said in a past interview with The Associated Press after being named to Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people list. “There is nobody who is a beast or an animal, right? Everyone, we, we homosexuals, are people and we need our oxygen to breathe.”
Wainaina had bright, rainbow-colored hair in protest of the laws against homosexuality in Nigeria and Uganda.
All of the information we know about Wainaina’s passing can be seen below.
Binyavanga Wainaina Cause of Death: Undisclosed
At the time of this post, an official cause of death for Wainaina was not disclosed. However, his friend said that he had died from an undisclosed illness. In 2014, Wainaina revealed that he was HIV-positive. He had previously suffered from a stroke in 2015.
“We are in a life celebration mood, we’re looking at this from a human level,” his brother James Wainaina said in a statement to BBC. “It’s a human story. Allow that humanness to shine, people are hurting.”
Our deepest condolences go out to Wainaina’s family and friends and all of those who were impacted by his activism during this incredibly difficult time.