Years ago, Conrad Njeru Karukenya, also known as Tiger Power, dared any African man to engage him in a strength contest. Nobody did.
Since then, he has been referred to as Kenya’s “strongest man” thanks to his extraordinary stunts such as breaking a six-inch nail with his finger.
But Tiger Power is no more. According to his brother Ansemoli Kathuri, the 72-year-old died on Tuesday night while receiving treatment at Consolota Mission Hospital, Kyeni, Embu County.
“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,” he told the Nation.
PULLING CAR WITH TEETH
Tiger Power’s popularity rose when he let a Land Rover roll over him unscathed. In different instances, he pulled stunts such as lifting eight huge men without much effort and pulling a car with his teeth.
At Kevote, Embu County, where he lived with his family, he was a household name for many years during Embu ASK shows.
Last year, at 71, he graduated from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor in Education (early childhood education) and aspired to build his own school.
“Before his demise, he practised farming at his home in Makengi, Embu,” he added.
He was awarded a Head of State Commendation by former president Mwai Kibaki. But it wasn’t all rosy for him as he once appealed for financial aid as he struggled to settle a Sh7,000 medical bill.