Kenyan Mourns Another Fallen Track Legend, Daniel Rudisha, Father To David Rudisha

Mar 07 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Two-time Olympic champion confirms the sudden death of ailing dad at 73

One of the last photos of Mexico 1968 Olympics silver medallist, Daniel Rudisha, shared by his son David Rudisha on Twitter. PHOTO/David Rudisha/Twitter

  • The grief-stricken two-time Olympics and world men 800m champion who is also the men 800m record holder confirmed the devastating news on Thursday morning having taken to Twitter to post touching messages to his father earlier on in the day
  • Beijing 2008 Olympics champion and three-time world 1500m titleholder, Asbel Kiprop, who is currently suspended from competition as investigations on doping violation charges that surfaced last year continue, was among the first to send in his tributes

NAIROBI, Kenya- The local athletics fraternity has once again been plunged into mourning following the sudden demise of 1968 Olympics silver medallist Daniel Matasi Rudisha, who is the father of middle distance running super star David Lekuta Rudisha on Wednesday night aged 73.

The grief-stricken two-time Olympics and world men champion who is also the men 800m record holder confirmed the devastating news on Thursday morning having taken to Twitter to post touching messages to his father on Tuesday.

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Daniel, 73, became a coach and teacher after retiring from the sport he made his name during the Mexico 68 Games where he was part of the Kenyan quartet that minted the silver in the 4X400m relay final before his son rose to become the greatest 800m runner of all time having been inspired to take up the sport by the Olympics medal he displayed at home.

According to his son, the elder Rudisha succumbed to a heart attack at 11pm local time (+3GMT) having spent his last few days in hospital. He has been suffering from diabetes for a long time.

“Our beloved father sadly left us last night. He had recovered and was on his way to fine health having been taken off the Intensive Care Unit.

"He was talking well and joking as usual while undergoing his dialysis treatment but at around 11pm, he suffered a sudden heart attack and efforts to resuscitate him did not bear any fruit,” the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics gold winner said on Thursday morning.


“We will try to remain strong during these difficult times,” the younger Rudisha who holds the 1:40.91 world record in 800m set in his epic victory at London 2012 Olympics added.

Quick recovery

On Tuesday, the Daegu 2011 and Beijing 2015 world champion shared photos of his ailing father lying in hospital bed with the touching message, ‘God is faithful’ on Twitter that followed another post, “Me and my ailing father…wish him quick recovery. Long live my dad.”

Beijing 2008 Olympics champion and three-time world 1500m titleholder, Asbel Kiprop, who is currently suspended from competition as investigations on doping violation charges that surfaced last year continue, was among the first to send in his tributes.

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“We stand with the family of our brother athlete Rudisha at this trying times. Daniel was a role model to us and we pray to God to give them strength,” Kiprop, whose own father David Kibenei finished fourth in the 1500m at the 1987 All Africa Games held in Nairobi mourned.

"On behalf of the athletics fraternity, we would like to send our deepest condolences to Rudisha’s family and the people Kilgoris at this difficult time.

"We mourn with you and celebrate the extraordinary life of this remarkable athlete who devoted his life to athletics. Rudisha will always be remembered as a legend and the pioneer athletes who set the foundation for the current crop of athletes," Athletics Kenya (AK) paid tribute in a statement.

"The firm foundation they laid, saw Asati and Nyamao team up with Robert Ouko and the late Julius Sang four years later in Munich to elevate the title to gold, Kenya’s and Africa’s only Olympic gold medal ever in the 4x400m relay.

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"Rudisha is among the first lot of athletes who represented the country, not for monetary gains but for the love of the game. His love for athletics inspired one of his sons David Rudisha to take up athletics and he is currently the world 800m record holder and two-time Olympic champion," the AK statement added.

Daniel, born in Kilgoris, Rift Valley Province, won the 1968 silver medal with his teammates Munyoro Nyamau, Naftali Bon and Charles Asati in 2:59.6. At the Mexico Summer Games, he competed in the 400m finishing sixth in his heat.

As a coach, he has trained many top class Kenyan athletes, including Billy Konchellah, who won the 800 metres at the World Athletics Championships in 1987.

Speaking after setting his first world record in 2010 where he lowered Kenyan born Danish star Wilson Kipketer’s mark twice in one week, his son said one of the main inspirations was seeing his father’s Olympics silver medal.

In fact, when he won his first gold in London, Rudisha took to social media to share photos of the two medals, adding his mission to emulate his father and bring the biggest prize in sport home had been accomplished.