Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe with an iron fist from 1980 to 2017, has died at the age of 95, the country’s president announced on Friday.
“It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President… Robert Mugabe,” Emmerson Mnangagwa said in a tweet.
He died after battling ill health, his family confirmed to the BBC.
Mr Mugabe had been in hospital in Singapore since April.
He was ousted in a military coup in November 2017, ending three decades in power.
He won Zimbabwe’s first election after independence, becoming prime minister in 1980.
He abolished the office in 1987, becoming president instead.
Mugabe’s early years were praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority.
But his controversial land reform programme sparked an economic collapse and his latter years were marked by rights abuses and corruption.
His successor, Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa, expressed his “utmost sadness”, calling Mr Mugabe “Zimbabwe’s founding father” and “an icon of liberation”.
Mr Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924, in what was then Rhodesia.
He was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial after criticising the government of Rhodesia in 1964.
In 1973, while still in prison, he was chosen as president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), of which he was a founding member.