NTV journalist John Kibera Otanga has passed on, following a long battle with leukaemia that spanned more than 15 years.
His former colleague, Kennedy Muriithi, took to his Facebook page on Sunday, January 28 to announce Otanga’s unfortunate demise.
“Sad day for the media fraternity. Our brother Otanga has rested.
“He has been battling Leukaemia for over 15 years. R.I.P OJ,” he wrote.
The late NTV journalist John Otanga while covering an event at State House. /THE STAR
Otanga’s colleagues including Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) communications director, Philip Etale, termed his passing as a big blow to Kenya’s media industry.
In December 2020, Otanga made a public appeal for Ksh4 million in medical funds to help him fly to India for treatment, having battled cancer for more than 10 years.
“Hi, my name is John Kibera Otanga. A journalist by profession. I have been battling blood cancer for over 10 years.
“Over the last couple of years, my situation has taken a turn for the worse. I am thereby appealing to you to kindly help me raise Ksh4 million so that I can go to India for further treatment,” read Otanga’s request at the time.
The request prompted his former colleagues including Citizen TV‘s Rashid Abdalla rally Kenyans to raise the amount to facilitate his treatment.
Leukaemia, according to the National Cancer Institute, is a broad term for cancers of the blood cells.
The type of leukaemia depends on the type of blood cell that becomes cancer and whether it grows quickly or slowly. Leukaemia occurs most often in adults older than 55, but it is also the most common cancer in children younger than 15.
Leukaemia usually involves white blood cells. Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters, that is, they normally grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them.
However, in people with leukaemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of abnormal white blood cells, which don’t function properly.
Blood cancers occur when abnormal blood cells start growing out of control, interrupting the function of normal blood cells, which fight off infection and produce new blood cells.
According to Statista, cancer was ranked in 2019 as the fourth-leading cause of death in Kenya behind respiratory infections and tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases and HIV/AIDS.
Otanga’s death comes two days after Radio Africa Group’s The Star newspaper journalist Dickens Wasonga passed away in a grisly road accident on Friday, January 26.