Richard Leakey, a noted Kenyan conservationist whose work was often featured in film and television documentaries, died today at the age of 77. The details of who died and where he died were not revealed.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced his death.
Kenyatta said, “I have this afternoon … It is with great sadness the sad news of the passing of Dr. Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, former Chief of Public Service of Kenya.”
Leakey was the son of the famous paleoanthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey. He had no formal archaeological training of his own, but in the 1970s led expeditions that made significant discoveries of early hominid fossils.
His work often made headlines on film and television programming. His appearances included PBS new star, of cbs 60 minutes, several National Geographic specials, and the History Channel ancient Aliens, among other programming.
Leakey’s most famous discovery was in 1984, when he found a nearly complete Homo erectus skeleton during one of his excavations. The discovery was named Turkana Boy.
He became the head of the National Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), where he campaigned against the large-scale poaching of elephant ivory. He briefly headed Kenya’s civil service, then returned to the KWS in 2015 for a three-year term.
There was no immediate information available about survivors or memorial plans. ,