Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza died of a heart attack, the government said, announcing a week of mourning.
It said he died at Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital following cardiac arrest on 8th June.
Nkurunziza, 55, had attended a volleyball match on 6th June and was taken to the hospital after falling sick. He had appeared to recover the following day, but deteriorated before suffering the heart attack. Attempts by doctors revive the leader were unsuccessful.
Kenyan papers reported the late president’s wife, Denise, had contracted Covid-19 – a disease the president appeared to downplay – and was airlifted to Nairobi for treatment.
Pascal Nyabenda, president of the National Assembly, was sworn in as interim president on 9th June.
The same day, flags were flown at half-mast for the leader who had ruled the country since 2005.
Nkurunziza’s death came days after people in the largely Catholic East African country elected Evariste Ndayishimiye, a former army general, as his successor. Ndayishimiye is due to take office in August.
Picture: Outgoing Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza died at a hospital in Karuzi on 8th June 2020, after suffering a heart attack, the government announced on 9th June. Nkurunziza is pictured in a 2017 file photo with first lady Denise Nkurunziza. (CNS photo/Evrard Ngendakumana, Reuters).