President Barack Obama’s aunt Zeituni Onyango, who was denied asylum in the United States but stayed illegally for years, died Tuesday at age 61.
Onyango, whose immigration status was reported by The Associated Press days before Obama’s election in 2008, had been treated in recent months for cancer and respiratory problems, Cleveland attorney Margaret Wong said. She died in a Boston rehabilitation center, said Wong, who represented her in her immigration case.
Onyango, a half-sister of Obama’s late father, moved from Kenya to the U.S. in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004. She remained in the country illegally, living in Boston public housing. She finally was granted asylum in 2010 by a judge who said she could be in danger if she returned to Kenya because of her relationship with Obama.