Ali Mazrui
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Professor, political writer and one of Kenya's brightest sons, Ali Mazrui died Monday at the age of 81.

"Death has robbed us of one of Kenya's greatest scholars," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told BBC News regarding the Kenyan-born scholar.

Kenyatta called Mazrui a "towering" academic whose "intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African scholarship," BBC notes.

Mazrui, who studied in Kenya and Great Britain and at Columbia University in New York City, was a world-renowned scholar who wrote extensively about colonialism and led academic departments throughout Africa and North America. He was an Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities and director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University in New York at the time of his death, the BBC reports.

Mazuri, a leading Pan-Africanist, was the author or co-author of more than 20 books and wrote about varied topics, including African politics, international political culture and political Islam, according to the BBC.

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"In one of his books, Islam Between Globalization and Counterterrorism, he explained how the religion was entrapped in the danger of rising extremism," the BBC reports.

He won several awards during his distinguished career, and the BBC notes that in 2005 the U.S. journal Foreign Policy and the British journal Prospect listed Mazrui "as among the world's top 100 public intellectuals."

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The BBC notes that Mazrui's body will be flown back to Kenya because he wished to be buried in his homeland. His final resting place will be in his birthplace, Mombasa, at the historical monument of Fort Jesus. Mazrui is survived by his wife and six children.

Read more at BBC News.