Prince William of England mourns Dr Richard Leakey

Leakey helped prove that humankind evolved in Africa

Prince William pays tribute to 'inspirational and courageous' conservationist Richard Leakey, who has died aged 77

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has mourned the passing of Dr Richard Leakey, Kenya's former Head of Public Service.

Sharing via the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official Twitter account, he wrote: "I was very sad to hear of Richard Leakey’s death. He was an inspirational & courageous conservationist and I was privileged to meet him.

"He transformed the Kenyan Wildlife Service & valiantly spearheaded efforts to stop elephant poaching. Conservation has lost a true visionary. W."

The legendary paleoanthropologist remained energetic into his 70s despite bouts of skin cancer, kidney and liver disease.

Richard passed away aged 77 on Sunday, and President Uhuru Kenyatta was among those to pay tribute, saying:

"Besides his distinguished career in the public service, Dr. Leakey is celebrated for his prominent role in Kenya’s vibrant civil society where he founded and successfully ran a number of institutions." He added that Richard had "served our country with distinction".

Born on December 19, 1944, Leakey was destined for paleoanthropology - the study of the human fossil record - as the middle son of Louis and Mary Leakey, one of if not the world's most famous discoverers of ancestral hominids.

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