Veteran Kenyan TV news anchor Catherine Kasavuli has died at the age of 60, KBC acting Managing Director Samuel Maina has confirmed.
Kasavuli passed away on Thursday night while she was receiving treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi after a long battle with cervical cancer.
"Legendary broadcaster, Catherine Kasavuli, has died. She passed away on Thursday night at KNH where she was receiving treatment," KBC said in a statement on Friday morning.
Her death comes a month after KBC made an urgent blood donation appeal for her, in a statement released by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), as she exuded confidence she would fight on.
“I am a strong woman. I know I will fight this. I am currently getting ready for a 2nd phase procedure,” Kasavuli said then.
The KBC MD had then revealed that Kasavuli had been battling cervical cancer and had been admitted at the KNH Private Wing since October 26, 2022.
“Dear friends, colleagues and well-wishers. Our dear colleague Catherine Kasavuli is hospitalised at the KNH Private Wing after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. For those who can, she needs blood transfusion urgently. Your prayers and moral support will be very welcome,” said Maina in his appeal for blood donations.
In a request form, the KNH blood donation unit has asked members of the public to donate blood for the news anchor, who is one of the most celebrated news readers in the country.
“Please assist the bearer of this note to donate blood for Catherine Kasavuli,” read the note in part.
Kasavuli, popularly known as the tv queen, was the pioneer of private television live news anchoring after she launched her tv career when KTN started its operations in 1990.
She retired from tv in 2015 only to make a comeback in 2020 on a revamped KBC, where she had been hosting the Legend Edition every weekend.
Cervical cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the cervical lining affecting the neck of the womb and is ranked the second most frequent after breast cancer in low-income countries.
According to data from WHO, cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer among women in Kenya and the second most frequent cancer among women aged 15 to 44.
Kasavuli started her career as a radio continuity announcer in 1980 at the Voice of Kenya (VOK), now KBC, a few months shy of the age of 18 and later transitioned to VOK TV in 1985.
She had no professional training before bagging the job and enrolled at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) two years after joining the state and only broadcaster then.
In March 1990, she became part of the founding team of KTN, the first privately-owned tv station in Kenya and became the television station’s initial anchor to go on live broadcast.
Kasavuli’s was a milestone given previously television news at VOK was pre-recorded and the tv queen expanded her talents to also voice commercials to supplement her earnings.