Tanzania's president dies, COVID-19 suspected

Tanzania's President John Magufuli died on Wednesday at the age of 61 amid speculation that he had contracted the coronavirus.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced the death on state television on Wednesday. She said the president died from heart disease at a hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was being treated. She added that the country has lost its brave leader.

Media reports say Magufuli had not made any public appearances since late February, triggering rumors that he had contracted the coronavirus and was receiving treatment.

Magufuli had played down the threat of the virus and opposed mask-wearing and social distancing. He said last June that Tanzania had eradicated the disease through national prayer.

Tanzania stopped reporting coronavirus data last May after it had confirmed 509 cases and 21 deaths.