Kenya's former Head of Public Service Dr Richard Leakey has passed away, according to communication released on Sunday by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In a statement from State House, President Kenyatta announced that Dr Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, who was also a politician, died on Sunday afternoon.

“I have this afternoon, Sunday 2nd January 2022, received with deep sorrow the sad news of the passing away of Dr Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, Kenya's former Head of Public Service,” said the president.

Dr Richard Leakey. PHOTO/COURTESY

The Head of State remembered Dr Leakey as a global icon in paleontology and conservation.

“Dr Leakey, a globally renown Kenyan paleoanthropologist and conservationist, has over the years served our country with distinction in several public service roles among them as Director of the National Museums of Kenya and Chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service Board of Directors,” said Uhuru.

He added, “Besides his distinguished career in the public service, Dr Leakey is celebrated for his prominent role in Kenya's vibrant civil society where he founded and successfully ran a number of institutions among them the conservation organization WildlifeDirect.”

Dr Richard Leakey. PHOTO/COURTESY

Uhuru condoled with the family, friends and associates of the fallen paleontologist.

“On behalf of the people of Kenya, my family and on my own behalf, I send heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and associates of Dr. Richard Leakey during this difficult period of mourning.

“May God the Almighty grant the soul of Dr Richard Leakey eternal rest.”

Dr Richard Leakey. PHOTO/COURTESY

Dr Leakey had in the past served as the Director of the National Museum of Kenya, and also founded the NGO WildlifeDirect and also served as chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

In his youth, Dr Leakey lived in the capital Nairobi with his parents, Louis Leakey - curator of the Coryndon Museum, and Mary Leakey, director of the Leakey excavations at Olduvai, alongside his two brothers, Philip and Jonathan.