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President Obama's Aunt Dies at 61

  • VOA News

FILE - President Barack Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango.

FILE - President Barack Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango.

An aunt of President Barack Obama who was denied asylum in the U.S. but stayed illegally for years has died in Massachusetts. Zeituni Onyango was 61.

Onyango's immigration lawyer said she died at a rehabilitation hospital after a battle with cancer and respiratory ailments. She had been ill since January,

Onyango moved to the U.S. from Kenya in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004. She did not leave the country and continued to live in public housing in Boston. Her illegal residential status was revealed just days before Obama was elected in November 2008.

At the time, then-candidate Obama said he did not know his aunt was living in the country illegally and that he believes laws covering the situation should be followed.

She was the half-sister of the president's late father, Barack Obama Sr.