Ghana’s President John Atta Mills has died unexpectedly, a presidential statement said, and an aide said his death occurred on Tuesday after he took ill on Monday night.
The death of the president of the world’s number two cacao grower comes months before Mr. Mills was due to stand for re-election at the helm of the West African country that posted double-digit growth in 2011 and has been praised for its strong democracy in a turbulent region.
“It is with a heavy heart … that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” a statement sent to Reuters by the president’s office said.
It said that Mr. Mills, 68, died a few hours after being taken ill but no further details were given.
A presidential aide, who asked not to be named, said the president had complained of pains on Monday evening and died early on Tuesday afternoon when his condition worsened.
Mr. Mills, who oversaw the start of oil production in Ghana, returned from medical checks in the United States several weeks ago.
Vice-president John Dramani Mahama will be sworn in as the country’s new president on Tuesday evening, a parliament official in charge of proceedings told Reuters.
Ebenezer Djietror said Mr. Mahama would be sworn in at 6:00 p.m. (GMT).
According to the country’s constitution, Mr. Mahama will complete Mr. Mills’s term, which was due to end with elections in December.
More to come