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Burundi’s government has make known the sudden death of President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader who took office following a bloody civil war in 2005.
He was 55 at the time of his death.
In a briefing on Tuesday, the government said Nkurunziza had died of heart failure.
It came just weeks before the president was meant to hand over power to political ally Evariste Ndayishimiye, the winner of last month’s presidential election, bringing down the curtain on a 15-year reign whose latter part was marked by political violence and increasing criticism over the government’s response to dissent.
Nkurunziza initially served as the minister of good governance in a transitional administration before taking Burundi’s highest post in August 2005 after legislators elected him president.