Tanzanian president dies of illness at 61

TEHRAN, Mar. 18 (MNA) – Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, one of Africa’s most prominent coronavirus skeptics, has died aged 61.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan broke the news on Wednesday after a more than two-week absence from public life that led to speculation about his health.

She said he died from the heart disease that had plagued him for a decade. She said burial arrangements were under way and announced 14 days of mourning and the flying of flags at half staff. State television broadcast mournful and religious songs.

Magufuli had not been seen in public since Feb. 27, sparking rumors that he had contracted COVID-19. Officials denied on March 12 that he had fallen ill and on Monday the vice president urged Tanzanians not to listen to rumors from outside the country and said it was normal for a human being to be checked for the flu or fever.

“Dear Tanzanians, it is sad to announce that today 17 March 2021 around 6 p.m. we lost our brave leader, President John Magufuli, who died from heart disease at Mzena hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was getting treatment,” the vice president said on state broadcaster TBC.

MNA/PR

News Code 171259

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