Wainaina, the founder of the literary magazine Kwani, passed away following a short illness, the chairman of the Nairobi-based magazine told The Daily Nation newspaper on Wednesday. Tom Maliti said the writer died a few minutes past 10pm (19:00 GMT) on Tuesday at a Nairobi hospital.
Wainaina had won the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story Discovering Home in 2002. Following the passage of a series of anti-gay laws across Africa in 2014, Wainaina publicly announced that he was gay.
In December 2016, Wainaina posted on Twitter that he was HIV-positive. Time Magazine in 2014 included Wainaina in its list of the Most Influential People in the World.