Zambian president dies in London

Zambian President, Michael Sata

Zambian President Michael Sata has died in London, the United Kingdom, where he was receiving treatment. He was 77.

The Zambian government confirmed the death of Mr. Sata, but did not give details of the illness he was treated for in London’s King Edward VII hospital.

Media reports said that he died after “a sudden onset [of] heightened heart rate”, according to the BBC.

The late president had been ill for some time.

“As you are aware the president was receiving medical attention in London,” Roland Msiska, the cabinet secretary, announced on state television. “The head of state passed away on October 28. President Sata’s demise is deeply regretted.”

Mr. Sata is the second Zambian leader to die in office after Levy Mwanawasa in 2008.

His death comes days after Zambia celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Sata is likely to be succeeded on an interim basis by Defence Minister Edgar Lungu, who stood in recently as acting president, or by Vice-President Guy Scott, who would become Africa’s first white head of state since South Africa’s FW de Klerk in 1994, news agency Reuters reported.

The constitution says a new presidential election must be held within 90 days.

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