Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic, has died.
The country’s vice president announced the death after weeks of uncertainty over his health and whereabouts.
In a televised address to the nation late on Wednesday, Vice President Samia Suluhu said the 61-year-old president had died of a “heart condition”, which he has suffered for a decade, at a hospital in Dar-Es-Salaam.
Mr Magufuli had first been briefly admitted to the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute on March 6, but was subsequently discharged, Hassan said on state television. But he was rushed to hospital again on March 14 after feeling unwell.
After the death was announced, opposition leader Zitto Kabwe said he had spoken to Mr Hassan to offer condolences for Mr Magufuli’s death. “The nation will remember him for his contribution to the development of our country,” Mr Kabwe said in a statement published on Twitter.
According to Tanzania’s Constitution, Vice President Hassan, 61, should assume the presidency for the remainder of the five-year term that Magufuli began serving last year after winning a second term.