Ghana’s longest-serving head of state, Jerry John Rawlings, has died at the age of 73, according to reports by multiple sources in the country including state-owned newspaper Daily Graphic.
The death was confirmed on Thursday at noon local Ghanaian time. It is unclear what may have caused the death of the former president although it is reported Rawlings had been on hospital admission since Sunday.
Rawlings was Ghana’s military’s leader for a brief period in 1979. From 1981 to 1992 he presided over a second military government and then led the country into its current democratic dispensation from January 1993.
Rawlings, until his death, remained a controversial statesman and politician. He fell out with the leadership of the party he founded, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2009 and surprisingly struck a friendship with current president, Nana Akufo-Addo who belongs to rival party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The former president is survived by four children, one of whom is a lawmaker in Ghana’s parliament. His widowed wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, is a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in Ghana in December.