Ghana’s president John Atta Mills dies at 68
Ghanaian president, John Atta Mills is dead a statement from the president’s office announced on Tuesday.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” the statement said.
The statement signed by the Chief of Staff to the president, Mr John Henry Newman, stated that Mr Mills passed away at the 37 Military Hospital, Tuesday afternoon.
A presidential aide, who asked not to be named, said the president had complained of pains on Monday evening and died early on Tuesday afternoon when his condition worsened.
Previous rumours about Mills’s possible ill health had swirled in the last few weeks and he travelled last month to the United States for medical treatment.
On that occasion, he had joked with reporters on his departure from the capital Accra about rumours of his death, asking them: “Are you seeing a person who has died?”
Mr Mills was inaugurated as Ghana’s leader on the platform of National Democratic Congress (NDC) on 7 January 2009, defeating the ruling party’s candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2008 election.
He served as Vice-President from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry Rawlings.
Trained as a lawyer and taxation expert, Mills had overseen Ghana’s emergence as one of Africa’s newest oil producers as the West African country started pumping crude oil two years ago.
The late president was expected to run for a second term in the forthcoming presidential election in December.
Ghana’s election commission said December’s presidential and parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned.
“The election calendar remains unchanged – it’s purely a party matter,” election chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told Reuters, explaining that it was up to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to find a candidate to replace Mills.
He is survived by his wife Ernestina Naadu Mills, and their son, Sam Kofi Atta Mills.
Ghana’s Vice-President, John Dramani Mahama is to be sworn in as the new president, Tuesday evening.
According to the country’s constitution, Mahama will complete Mills’s term.
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