President Nkurunziza, 55 who was preparing to handover power to his successor Evariste Ndayishimiye reportedly died of cardiac arrest in Bujumbura on Tuesday.
“The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, at the Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital following a cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday June 9.
President Nkurunziza’s death comes just ten days after his wife Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza was airlifted to Nairobi after contracting COVID-19.
President Nkurunziza did not vie in his country’s May elections, the first time in 15 years that he did not run for the presidency.
He served three terms, the third of which sparked lengthy unrest in the country.
In power since 2005, Nkurunziza was due to be replaced in August by political ally Evariste Ndayishimiye, who was declared earlier this month the winner of a May 20 presidential election.