Angola’s former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa’s second biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, has died aged 79.
Dos Santos died at the Teknon clinic in Barcelona, Spain, where he was being treated following a prolonged illness, the presidency said.
His successor, Angola’s current president João Lourenço, declared five days of national mourning and described dos Santos as “unique figure of the Angolan homeland, to which he dedicated himself from a very early age.
Dos Santos, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, stepped down five years ago.
He frequently described himself as an accidental president, taking the reins after Angola’s first leader, Agostinho Neto, died during cancer surgery in 1979.
His rule was marked by a civil war lasting nearly three decades against US-backed Unita rebels – which he won in 2002 – and a subsequent oil-fuelled boom.
He was replaced in 2017 by Lourenço, who despite being from the incumbent’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, swiftly moved to investigate allegations of multi-billion dollar corruption during the dos Santos era.
Dos Santos had been receiving medical treatment since 2019.
Portuguese news agency Lusa reported last month that the former president was admitted to an intensive care unit in Barcelona.
His daughter Tchizé dos Santos said in an Instagram post that “fathers never die because they are the truest love that children know in all their lives. They live forever within us.”