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Kenyan paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey dies at 77

Leakey was also known for his conservation work in his native Kenya.

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Richard Leakey has died at the age of 77 (Petr David Josek/AP)

Richard Leakey has died at the age of 77 (Petr David Josek/AP)

Richard Leakey has died at the age of 77 (Petr David Josek/AP)

Paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, known for his fossil-finding and conservation work in his native Kenya, has died at 77, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced.

The cause of death was not announced.

Leakey, the son of globally renowned anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey, also held a number of public service leadership roles including director of the National Museums of Kenya and what became the Kenya Wildlife Service, President Kenyatta’s statement said.

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the news of the death of our founder,” the conservation group WildlifeDirect said.

The group’s chief executive, Paula Kahumbu, said Leakey had “a natural sense of leadership, old-fashioned but straightforward. His memory was super sharp and his ability to hold many ideas in the air at once to find common threads was phenomenal. He will be dearly missed.”

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