Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza has died, the government of the central African nation announced in a statement posted on Twitter.
The government statement said that Nkurunziza had died of a heart attack.
His death comes less than a week after the country’s constitutional court ruled that last month’s elections were flawless and upheld the victory of the ruling party’s presidential candidate, dismissing a complaint brought by the vote’s runner-up.
The vote was the first competitive presidential election in Burundi since a civil war erupted in 1993. The ruling CNDD-FDD party’s candidate, retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, was running against opposition leader Agathon Rwasa and five others.
Nkurunziza was set to stay in office until August, when President-elect Ndayishimiye would take over ahead of starting a seven-year term.
Burundi’s election commission said Ndayishimiye had won the election with 69% of votes cast.
The commission said Rwasa had garnered 24% of the vote, amid what it said was huge, peaceful turnout.
In his last tweet, which was posted on May 26, Nkurunziza had taken to Twitter to congratulate the president-elect for winning the elections.
” I warmly congratulate President Gen. Major Evariste Ndayishimiye for his large victory which confirms that the vast majority of Burundians adhere to the projects and values he embodies. We are privileged witnesses of history. God bless Burundi!”