Head of African Governance Initiative dies at 36

Kate Gross passed away on Thursday, December 25, Christmas Day, after a two-year battle with colon cancer.

The head of the African Governance Initiative (AGI), Kate Gross has died at the age of 36, her mother Jean announced in an online post.

Gross passed away on Thursday, December 25, Christmas Day, after a two-year battle with colon cancer.

“Kate died at home, as she wanted. Kate’s last two weeks were characterized by the same qualities that marked her life. There was care for others: were we all OK, would we be OK, how could she make it OK for us?” Jean Gross wrote.

The deceased worked as an aide to British Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown before assuming office as the head of the AGI.

The AGI is a charity organization set up by Blair to provide advice on leadership and political reform in countries including Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

In response to her death, Blair wrote on the AGI website:

“She was a fabulous colleague, a wonderful leader and a dear friend. The tragedy of her death only illuminates the magnificence of her life.”

“Her work and her achievement will endure. She created and built AGI as an organisation that took a new and innovative approach to development and today is making change happen in many different African countries. She gave it an ethos and spirit that is a unique combination of public service and enterprise. She took the small band of staff and helped put together the flourishing and strong team of professionals which represent AGI today,” he added.

“Her illness saw her reach new heights as a writer and sage, giving everyone around her hope and purpose in their lives even as her own drew to a close. I feel privileged and proud to have worked with her and been part of her life,” Blair concluded.

Gross was diagnosed with advanced cancer at the age of 34 and she went on to write a blog and then a book, titled “Late Fragments: Everything I Wanted to Tell You About the Magnificence of Life”, on her struggle with the disease.

She is survived by her husband, Billy, five-year-old twin boys, Isaac and Oscar and her mother, Jean. May her soul rest in peace.

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