Ghana’s President John Atta Mills has died, according to a statement sent by the president’s office to Reuters on Tuesday.
“It is with a heavy heart…that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” Reuters quoted the statement as saying.
It said the president, 68, died a few hours after being taken ill but no further details were given.
But the BBC reported that Mr. Mills had been suffering from throat cancer.
John Atta Mills, 68, was the third and until his death, the President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. He was inaugurated on 7 January 2009, after defeating the ruling party candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, in the 2008 election.
He was vice president from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerrry Rawlings.
He was most recently treated in the U.S. for an unspecified condition.
Concerns about his health spiked last month after he sent a letter to parliament requesting to be away to the U.S for his third medical visit this year.
When public concerns got to him, he replied saying ‘’I go there to ensure everything is okay. I am going to see my doctors for some examination then I will come back and continue my work of building a better Ghana.’’
Mr. Mills had complained of pains on Monday evening and died on Tuesday afternoon, a statement from the presidency said..
He was born on July 21, 1944 in Tarkwa, located in the western region of Ghana.
He was married to Ernestina Naadu Mills, with a son, Sam Kofi Atta Mills.
Mr. Mills was one of five African leaders ranked “A” by the East African Magazine, The A-listers.
He attended the London School of Economics, University of Ghana and School of Oriental and African Studies.
He was a well respected statesman in Ghana.
His death occurred at the 37 Military hospital in Accra, and announced by his chief of staff, John Newman, on Tuesday.
He was last seen publicly in Ghana, early June, during a tour of a plane crash site at Accra.
His replacement, Vice President John Dramani Mahama, will be sworn in Tuesday evening, in line with Ghana’s constitution.
Plans have yet to be announced as for his burial.
President Jonathan mourns Atta MillsPresident Goodluck Jonathan said he received the news of the death of President Mills “with shock and immense sadness.”
In a statement by his spokesperson, Reuben Abati, Mr. Jonathan condoned Ghanaians on behalf of himself, and the government and people of Nigeria.
He extended his condolences to late President Mill’s family as well.
The President also prayed for Mr. Mills’ successor, asking God to garnt him “the fortitude and wisdom he will need to keep Ghana firmly on the path of peace, stability and progress.”
Nigeria maintained an excellent relationship with Ghana under President Mills.
President Jonathan said he hoped that excellent relationship would continue in the mutual interest of both countries.