It is unclear if Burundi’s Nkurunziza had other underlying medical conditions

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It is unclear if Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza, who unexpectedly died on Monday, had any other underlying medical conditions. The Burundi government confirmed his death in a statement via Twitter on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the 55-year-old head of state died of a heart attack in a hospital in Karusi in central Burundi.

Last month, Nkurunziza’s wife was airlifted to Nairobi for treatment for an unknown ailment. According to the BBC, she allegedly tested positive for COVID-19.

The statement said that on Saturday, Nkurunziza attended a volleyball match in his village of Ngozi but was taken ill on Sunday night. He was taken to Karusi 50th Anniversary hospital where he died on Monday.

The government has declared seven days of national mourning in his honour.

In the video below, SABC journalist Sarah Kimani reflects on Nkurunziza’s rule: 

Last month Burundi elected a new leader, retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, who was the flag bearer for the ruling CNDD-FDD party.

Nkurunziza, was due to handover power in August. He has ruled Burundi since 2005.