Burundi: Pierre Nkurunziza dies of heart attack

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Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has died of a heart attack at the age of 55.

Nkurunziza dies on June 8 after suffering a cardiac arrest, two days after playing a volleyball match, the government announced on Tuesday. The controversial leader, who led Burundi for 15 years, was due to step down in August following presidential elections held in May, despite concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

Burundi president suddenly dies

Burundi’s government announced the sudden death of Pierre Nkurunziza on Tuesday “with great sorrow to Burundians and the international community.” The statement said the president attended a volleyball game on Sunday afternoon but fell ill later the same evening and was taken to hospital.

After appearing to recover in hospital and speak with those around him at the hospital later on Sunday evening, his condition deteriorated on Monday morning. Nkurunziza then suffered a heart attack and, despite efforts to resuscitate him, died at the hospital in Karuzi, eastern Burundi.

The government said there would be a period of national mourning held for seven days, starting from Tuesday, during which time flags will be flown at half-mast.

Featured image: “2014_04_22_Burundi_President_visit_Somalia -13” flickr photo by AMISOM Public Information https://flickr.com/photos/au_unistphotostream/13989178103 shared into the public domain using (CC0)

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.