KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Malaysia lost a prominent chronicler of its history with the death of Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim today. He was 82.
His son, Eddin Khoo, told Malay Mail that his father died at about 11am today at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre here, saying it was from heart failure.
“It is with the deepest sadness that we inform of the passing of our much-loved husband and father Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Datuk Dr Khoo Kay Kim following a brief illness.
“He passed, as he had always lived, with the greatest dignity. Details of wake and funeral to be announced shortly. We appreciate your prayers at this sad time. May he ever rest in peace,” he Khoo family said in a media message to friends and relatives that was sighted by Malay Mail.
Khoo began his career at the University of Malaya, which has lasted over 50 years.
He officially retired in 1997, but continued to have an office in the university’s History Department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Khoo was known for his seminal works on Malaysian history. He even helped to draft the Rukun Negara which became the five pillars to guide the nation’s peoples of diverse faiths and ethnicities going forward after the violent 1969 racial riots.
In 2017, Khoo was awarded the 10th “Tokoh Akademik Negara” and the prestigious Merdeka Award in 2018 for his contribution to the country.
The eminent historian also published his own autobiography in 2017, titled I, KKK: The Autobiography of a Historian, in collaboration with his eldest son, Eddin.
In a Facebook posting today, Eddin quoted a phrase from the Buddha, encapsulating the life his father had lived.
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
“Every day, in the deepest part of my heart I will miss you: every single day. Rest in Peace my Pa.”