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.
President Mnangagwa cut short his trip to South Africa where he was attending the World Economic Forum on Africa and is heading back to Zimbabwe, according to state media.
Mugabe 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.
Robert Mugabe, the deeply divisive former president of Zimbabwe, was declared a “national hero” by the ruling Zanu-PF party on Friday, as preparations for his funeral got under way in the nation he ruled with an iron fist for almost 40 years.
The death of the former president on Thursday night in a clinic in Singapore marks the definitive end of an era in the former British colony.
Mugabe, who died aged 95, ruled Zimbabwe for close to four decades
before being ousted in a military takeover in November 2017.
Though initially admired as a hero of Africa’s independence struggle, his long rule descended into tyranny, corruption and incompetence, earning him international pariah status. His death prompted mixed reactions in
Zimbabwe, across Africa and around the world.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after Mugabe’s fall, called his predecessor “an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people” and said Zimbabwe would be in official mourning until the former leader’s remains were brought back from Singapore and buried.