- Tanzania President John Magufuli had been missing from the public for at least 17 days and speculation was rife over his whereabouts
- The late president is reported to have succumbed to heart disease and his death was announced on Wednesday, 17 March, by vice president Samia Suluhu
- The late president is reported to have succumbed to heart disease and the country has been thrown into mourning
Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has passed away from heart disease.
News of Magufuli's death followed weeks of wild speculations after he was missing from the public eye for over two weeks.
The Tanzanian leader passed away on Wednesday, 17 March at 6pm, according to an announcement made by Vice-President Samia Suluhu on state television.
According to Suluhu, Magufuli succumbed to heart disease.
She said the late president began feeling unwell and was taken to Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute on Saturday, 6 March.
On Sunday, 7 March, and was discharged after assessment by cardiac specialists.
"He was allowed to go back home and continue with his responsibilities but the condition worsened on Sunday, March 14, when he was taken back to the hospital for treatment of chronic heart disease," Suluhu indicated.
The vice-president declared 14 days of mourning, a period in which national flags will fly half-mast.
Magufuli was re-elected into the country's top office under his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) political party in October 2020 following a heated political contested, which he won with a landslide.
He was first sworn in as Tanzania's president on November 5, 2015, and was celebrated for taking on corruption cartels and streamlining service delivery in public offices.
However, the late president was criticised for silencing the opposition and trampling on freedom of media and expression.
Magufuli's relaxed stance on Covid-19
Magufuli grabbed headlines in 2020 after failing to impose any Covid-19 control measures insisting the East African nation had triumphed over the deadly virus.
In April 2020, his government halted the issuance of Covid-19 data to the public and weeks later; he stated Tanzania was coronavirus-free thanks to divine intervention.
"We decided to pray to God to save us from Covid-19. He has answered our prayers. Tanzania is safe, which is evident by the many airlines that are bringing in tourists," he said on June 8, 2020.
He told Tanzanians that there would be no lockdown in the country since Covid-19 was not in the country.
"Don't panic, what is important is to work and double production," said Magufuli.
Life and Times of Magufuli
Magufuli was born on October 29, 1959, in Geita, Tanzania.
He pursued a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry and Mathematics at the University of Dar es Salaam between 1985 and 1988.
He went ahead to graduate with a Master's Degree in Chemistry and later a Doctorate of Philosophy in the same field at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1994 and 2009.
Besides attaining these academic credentials, Magufuli was in 2019 awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Dodoma for his role in improving the economy of Tanzania.
He was married to Janeth Magufuli, a primary school teacher and together were blessed with five children.
Magufuli was first elected as MP in 1995 and later served in Tanzania's Cabinet as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000.
He was appointed Minister of Works from 2000 to 2006, then Minister of Lands and Human Settlement between 2006 and 2008.
The deceased was also appointed Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, where he served between 2008 and 2010 before serving as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015.
Previously, Briefly.co.za reported on King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, King of the Zulu Nation who passed away after succumbing to his battle with diabetes, which he has been fighting for over a week while in hospital.
IFP founder and traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, shared a statement that revealed the passing of the Zulu king, which took place while he was still in hospital.
“Tragically, while still in hospital, His Majesty’s health took a turn for the worse and he subsequently passed away in the early hours of this morning.”
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!