Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who had only five months ago been reelected in a disputed election, died at the age of 61.
“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,” Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on state television on Wednesday.
According to the Vice President, Magufuli fell ill on March 14 and had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Born on October 29, 1959, Magufuli was elected to parliament in 1995 and held several cabinet positions before the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party chose him as its candidate to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete in 2015.
Magufuli hadn’t been seen in public since February 24, and the silence surrounding his whereabouts and health state sparked increasing speculation on social media that he was critically ill. Government officials were quick to deny these allegations, though failing to provide any more information on the President’s
Vice President Hassan is now set to become the first woman president in Tanzania and also in the East African Community, comprised of 6 nations.