Kenyan fans and officials are paying tribute to Kenyan-born Roger Whittaker whose death was reported on Monday. The folk musician was 87 at the time of his passing with several famous hits under his belt including “The Last Farewell” and “New World in the Morning”, of which he sold nearly 50 million records around the world.

Music Copyright Society of Kenya CEO, Ezekiel Mutua paid tribute to the singer by hailing his song “My Land is Kenya” as “one of the most beautiful tributes” to the country.

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“Saddened by the news of the death of Folk Music Icon Roger Whittaker, the hitmaker of “Durham Town” and “My Land is Kenya,” he said. “As Kenya celebrates 60 years of independence, his hit “My Land is Kenya” remains one of the most beautiful tributes to the beauty of Kenya and appreciation of our cultural heritage. Go well Rodger Whittaker and may your booming and melodious voice ring yonder!”

The MCSK boss’ sentiments were echoed by Kirinyaga County Governor, Anne Waiguru who hailed Whittaker’s song “Oh Kirinyaga.”

“Deeply saddened by the passing of Roger Whittaker. Born in Kenya, Whittaker was a country music singer, best known for his hit song “My Land Is Kenya” among other soulful ballads, including his song “Kirinyaga” in which he croons “Oh Kirinyaga, this is where God created man,” she said.

Adding, “We are truly inspired by the passion and patriotism he exuded through his music, we will miss him. My condolences to his family, friends and indeed all his fans. Rest well, Whittaker”

The Prime Cabinet Secretary of Kenya, Musalia Mudavadi also celebrated the singer saying that “his contribution to the music industry will always be cherished.”

“Born in Kenya, Roger Whittaker’s soothing music touched the hearts of millions worldwide,” he said. “His contributions to the music industry will always be cherished. His 1982 hit song “MY LAND IS KENYA” played a significant role in promoting Kenya as a breathtaking tourist destination. May his soul rest in peace.”

Whittaker was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1936, while his parents were from Staffordshire, England. Whittaker studied medicine after doing national service in Kenya; he wrote his songs and sang in local clubs while he studied in the country.

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