The government of Burundi says President Pierre Nkurunziza has died at the age of 56.
The government released a statement on Twitter that said Nkurunziza died of cardiac arrest Monday at the Karusi hospital in eastern Burundi.
Nkurunziza was reported to be in critical condition on Monday. VOA’s Central Africa service reported that there was a heavy military presence around the hospital.
Nkurunziza served three terms as Burundi’s president. His decision to run for a controversial third term in 2015 set off protests and violence that prompted hundreds of thousands of Burundians to flee the country.
Nkurunziza was due to step down in August after his chosen successor, General Evariste Ndayishimiye, won the 2020 presidential election.