Former military and civilian President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, has died of alleged coronavirus-related complications at the age of 73, multiple reports from Ghanaian media have claimed.
Rawlings death came barely a month after burying his mother.
Rawlings, one of the most respected African leaders, was a military leader in Ghana, who came to power as a Flight Lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force in 1979 following a coup d’etat; and later became a politician who ruled the country from 1981 to 2001.
He died on Thursday morning at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, KBTH, in Accra, the capital. Rawlings has been on admission at Korle Bu for about a week for an undisclosed ailment, but was reported ill after his mother’s burial about three weeks ago.
Born on June 22, 1947, the soldier-turned politician had led a military junta from 1981 until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected President of Ghana from January 7, 1993 to January 6, 2001.
He had prior to that led an unsuccessful coup attempt against the ruling military government on 15 May 1979, just five weeks before scheduled democratic elections were due to take place.
Until his death, Rawlings was the African Union envoy to Somalia; but as Ghanaian leader launched a massive anti-corruption campaign that purged the nation of corrupt political elements.
Confirming Rawlings death on Twitter, former Nigerian presidential candidate and media mogul, Dele Momodu, who has close links to the Ghanaian Presidency, twitted, “The saddest news of this year. My God. Former President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana has passed on. I’m completely devastated. Good night, an African hero.”