Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has died at the age of 95, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
“It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” Mnangagwa posted on Twitter early on Friday.
“Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten.
“May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he added.
He was hospitalised in Singapore for months for an undisclosed ailment, Mnangagwa had confirmed earlier this year.
Officials often said he was being treated for a cataract, denying frequent private media reports that he had prostate cancer.
No further details were immediately available about the circumstances of his death or where he died.
Mugabe was forced to step down by the military in November 2017 following nationwide mass protests.
The former political prisoner-turned-guerrilla leader swept to power in the 1980 elections after a growing rebellion and economic sanctions forced the white minority colonial government to the negotiating table.
Born on February 21, 1924, into a Catholic family at Kutama Mission northwest of Harare, Mugabe was described as a loner and a studious child, known to carry a book even while tending cattle in the bush.
After his carpenter father left the family when he was 10, the young Mugabe concentrated on his studies, qualifying as a schoolteacher at the age of 17.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent Haru Mutasa, reporting from Johnesburg, South Africa, said many credit Mugabe with the country’s high literacy rate.
“As a former teacher, he really tried to make sure as many blacks as possible got education when he came to power. He is credited for one of the highest literacy rates on the continent,” Mutasa said.
“Meanwhile, many others blame him for the things that have gone wrong in Zimbabwe. Many blame him for ruining what was ones a prosperous economy,” she added. (Aljazeera)