President John Magufuli of Tanzania has died of heart failure at age 61, Vice President Samia Suluhu announced on Wednesday.
“Our beloved President passed at 7 p.m. this evening,” Suhuhu said on national television.
“All flags will be flown at half-mast for 14 days. It is sad news. The president has had this illness for the past 10 years.”
He said President Magufuli died at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city.
Magufuli had not been seen in public since the end of February.
Government officials had repeatedly denied he was in ill health even as rumors mounted that he was possibly incapacitated.
The AP noted that “Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent deniers of COVID-19. He had said last year that Tanzania had eradicated the disease through three days of national prayer.”
Tanzania has not reported its COVID-19 tallies of confirmed cases and deaths to African health authorities since April 2020.