“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today on the 17th of March, 2021 at 6 pm we lost our brave leader, the President of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli, said, vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan.
She said Magufuli had died of a “heart condition”, which he has suffered for a decade, at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
He had first been briefly admitted to the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute on March 6, but was subsequently discharged, Hassan said.
But Magufuli had again felt unwell and was on March 14 rushed to hospital again.
His death brings to close weeks of speculations on his whereabouts and health.
But it opens a new chapter for a country which had never changed governments outside of elections.
Confirmation of Magufuli’s death comes after weeks of uncertainty and wild rumours over his absence, as he was last seen in public on February 27.
Opposition leader Tundu Lissu had raised questions about his health, citing sources that the president was suffering from Covid-19.
Magufuli, who was first elected in 2015 and then again in a disputed poll last year, had for months insisted the virus no longer existed in Tanzania, and had been fended off by prayer.
He refused to wear a face-mask or take lockdown measures.
But a week before he was last seen, Magufuli conceded the virus was still circulating, after the vice-president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died of Covid-19.
In accordance with the constitution, the Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan will be sworn after 24 hours as the President of the Republic of Tanzania to serve the remaining term until 2025.
She is now in her capacity the acting President.
According to Article 37 (5) of The constitution of the Republic of Tanzania, after the swearing-in of Samia Suluhu Hassan as President, she will consult with the ruling party (CCM) on the appointee for the position of The Vice President. AFP