Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua is dead.
Governor Gachagua died at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London while undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.
According to his brother, Rigathi Gachagua, the governor died at 2.15am with close family members at his bedside.
“He has left us after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. It is very sad for the family but we have accepted God’s will,” he said.
He said arrangements are under way to bring the body back home for burial.
Mr Rigathi called his brother’s death a huge loss to the family and urged Kenyans to pray for them.
Mr Gachagua has been out of the country since late 2016 after he survived an impeachment motion against him.
Last public appearance
He made only one public appearance in November during President Kenyatta’s tour of the county and then flew out of the country hours later.
During his long absence, there were rumours that Mr Gachagua had stepped down from the race to defend his Nyeri County seat due to failing health.
However, those close to him insisted that he was still in the race, having paid the statutory Sh100,000 nomination fee to the Jubilee Party.
Deputy Governor mourns
Speaking to journalists after receiving the news of the death, Deputy Governor Samuel Wamathai said he had spoken with Mr Gachagua on Thursday and that he sounded weak.
He said Governor Gachagua would be remembered for his hard work and love for Nyeri people.
Mr Wamathai said Mr Gachagua would also be remembered for initiating various development projects
The deputy governor assured the people of Nyeri that the transition after Mr Gachagua's death will be smooth.
He termed the late governor as "more than a personal friend".