Marian Robinson, mother of Michelle Obama dies aged 86

Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama's mother dies aged 86
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson has died.

Washington, D.C., United States | By Michael Wandati | The family of Marian Robinson, the mother of former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, has confirmed her passing at the age of 86.

In a statement, the Obamas conveyed that Marian Robinson died “peacefully” on Friday 31, May 2024 morning.

Throughout the eight years of Barack Obama‘s administration from 2009 to 2017, Robinson was a familiar presence at the White House.

During this period, she devoted much of her time to caring for her two granddaughters, Malia and Sasha, the daughters of Michelle and Barack Obama.

In a statement posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Mr. Obama said that “there was and will be only one Marian Robinson.”

“In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life,” he added. “And we will spend the rest of ours trying to live up to her example.”

No additional information regarding the cause of Marian Robinson’s death was provided.

Robinson, one of seven siblings, was raised in Chicago, where she spent most of her life before relocating to Washington DC following Mr. Obama’s electoral triumph.

She initially pursued a career in teaching before transitioning to work as a secretary. Together with her husband Frasier Robinson, she raised Michelle and their other child, Craig, on Chicago’s South Side.

“At every step, as our families went down paths none of us could have predicted, she remained our refuge from the storm,” the Obama statement said.

“On Election Night in 2008, when the news broke that Barack would soon shoulder the weight of the world, she was there, holding his hand.”

An image taken on the night in 2008 when her son-in-law made history as the nation’s first African-American president showed Robinson sitting on a sofa with him, watching the results come in.

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The statement added that Robinson had agreed to move to the White House after a “healthy nudge” from Barack and Michelle Obama, who, along with their daughters, “needed her.”

It was reported that Marian Robinson insisted on managing her own laundry during her time at the White House.

In a subsequent interview with CBS, the BBC’s US partner, Robinson expressed her motivation for relocating to Washington, explaining that she believed it would be a challenging environment for her daughter and son-in-law.

“And I was worried about their safety,” she added. “I was worried about my grandkids. That’s what got me to move to DC.”

Robinson – whom Mr Obama once called “the least pretentious person” he knew – said that it was a “huge adjustment” to have her needs met by White House staff.