As Kenyans continue to mourn the death of Conrad Njeru Karukenya popularly known as Tiger Power, the family of the famed ‘strongman’ has urged his fans, the county and national governments to offer financial assistance as they plan his funeral.
Tiger Power, who made a name himself in the country and beyond due to his superhuman strength, passed away on Tuesday morning at the Consolata Mission Hospital in Kyeni, Embu County where he had been admitted for a heart complication.
According to his son, Boniface Njagi Njeru, Tiger Power was admitted on New Year’s Eve.
“He was ailing for several days prior to his death. He was hospitalised on December 31, 2018, and died on Tuesday, January 1. Dad had no other source of income besides the stunts he pulled at public events,” said Mr Njeru.
Tiger Power’s brother, Ansemoli Kathuri, who rushed him to hospital added that: “When he was being admitted in hospital, his health condition wasn’t extremely bad.”
“He has been battling different ailments since 2015, the reason he had to quit powerlifting. He has had kidney failure, lung and heart complications. However, when we were taking him to the hospital on Monday, he was still a man of strength. He even called his children alerting them that he was going to hospital.”
According to the strongman’s sister-in-law, Margaret Muthoni, Karukenya had been ailing for a while and had suffered a cardiac arrest.
“He told us that he had a heart condition, which, sometime in the past, led to him suffering a cardiac arrest. There was a time, recently, when we took him to Kyeni Hospital over that problem. The December 31, 2018 admission to the medical facility was the second time we rushed him there. We are waiting for all his children to come home so that we can arrange his funeral,” said Mrs Njagi.
She further described Tiger Power as an inspiration to many and called on well-wishers to help the family foot unpaid hospital bills and burial arrangements.
Tiger Power’s brother mourned him saying, “Tiger spent a large part of his life engaging in physical fitness exercises. He was a known personality internationally. He has helped many people.”
He added: “We request Tiger’s fans, the Embu County Government and the Kenyan Government to help us arrange his funeral.”
Tigger Power hailed from Kevote Makengi Village in Embu North Sub-County and died aged 72.
In 2008, he received a Head of State Commendation for his 48 years of dedicated weightlifting and fitness.
Some of Conrad’s greatest feats include carrying 8 men while lifting a crate of beer with his bare teeth. The highlight of his public performances was having a four-wheel-drive vehicle run over his abdomen.
Tiger Power also represented Kenya in many international exhibitions in Africa and beyond – In 2012 he emerged second best at the Super Human competition in the UK.
Last year, he graduated from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor in Education (early childhood education) and aspired to build his own school. He also held a Diploma in Physical Fitness.
“Before his demise, he practised farming at his home in Makengi, Embu,” said his brother.
Despite his international fame, Tiger Power was said to be struggling financially.
In August 2015, he was in his hospital bed struggling to raise Sh7, 000 for a scan, with singer Jaguar and some wellwishers coming to his rescue.
In a previous interview, Tiger Power said he discovered his extraordinary strength by accident when he was transporting his father’s coffee beans to the factory many years ago.
“As I was guiding the ox-cart carrying 2.1 tonnes of coffee downhill, the brakes failed. I guided it to the roadside and as I was lying on my back fixing the left wheel, the oxen unexpectedly pulled away running over my abdomen. Despite the heavy luggage, it did not hurt.”
Here’s a video feature of Tiger Power, courtesy of Citizen TV.