TIME Immigration

Barack Obama’s Aunt Has Died

Zeituni Onyango
Josh Reynolds—AP President Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango

Zeituni Onyango, the stepsister of the president's father, was born in Kenya and granted asylum in 2010 after years of fighting deportation. She was 61

President Barack Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, who fought deportation and was granted asylum in the United States, died Monday.

Onyango, 61, died Monday at a rehab hospital after being treated for cancer and respiratory illness, her immigration lawyer said. She was born in Kenya and granted asylum in the United States in 2010.

Her first asylum request, however, was denied in 2002 and she was ordered to leave the country in 2004, but she continued to live in Boston public housing, reports WCVB Boston. Her situation was made public days before Obama was elected in November 2008.

Obama said at the time he did not know his aunt was living illegally in the country.

Onyango was the stepsister of the president’s father, Barack Obama Sr.


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