Kenyan Olympian Daniel Rudisha dies aged 73

Thursday March 7 2019

Daniel Matasi Rudisha

Daniel Matasi Rudisha in a past interview. Daniel passed away on March 6, 2019 aged 73 years. PHOTO | FILE 

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Pioneer Kenyan Olympian Daniel Matasi Rudisha, the father of 800m record holder David, passed away on Wednesday evening at War Memorial Hospital in Nakuru, 160km northwest of Nairobi, aged 73.

The news was confirmed to Nation Sport by David.

David, who is the Olympic 800m champion and 800m World Record holder, said his father passed away on Wednesday night after he suffered a heart attack.

He said that his father, who was diabetic and high blood pressure, had been admitted at the hospital for the last four days after his kidneys failed.

"He was admitted at intensive care unit and had actually recovered and was in the normal ward," David explained.

"He successfully went through dialysis well on Wednesday and those who visited him left him at 10pm on Wednesday in high spirit. It is shocking that he passed on."


David said his father was due to be discharged Friday.

"He is my hero and the man behind my athletics success" said David.

A grief-stricken David had earlier this week taken to Twitter asking his followers to pray for his ailing father. One of the tweets showed his forlorn face alongside that of his bed ridden father in a hospital ward.


Daniel was a teacher and an athletics coach after he retired from the sport where he made his name when he won silver in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. He was also part of Kenya's 4X400m relay team in the same Games.

Athletics Kenya sent their condolences in a statement signed by Barnabas Korir. "On behalf of the athletics fraternity, we would like to send our deepest condolences to Rudisha’s family and the people Kilgoris at this difficult time. We mourn with you and celebrate the extraordinary life of this remarkable athlete who devoted his life to athletics," the statement read in part.

"Rudisha will always be remembered as a legend and the pioneer athletes who set the foundation for the current crop of athletes. Rudisha alongside Hezekiah Nyamao, Charles Asati and the late Naftali Bon placed Kenya firmly on the global athletics map in 1968 when they struck silver in the 4x400 metres relay at the Mexico Olympic Games," it added.

Korir said that the foundation Daniel laid in 1968 Mexico Olympics played a huge role in Kenya's 4X400m success in Munich four years later.

"The firm foundation they laid, saw Asati and Nyamao team up with Robert Ouko and the late Julius Sang four years later in Munich to elevate the title to gold, Kenya’s and Africa’s only Olympic gold medal ever in the 4x400m relay."