Algerian army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Ahmed Gaid Saleh died Monday at the age of 79 following a heart attack, the country’s official news agency said.

Gaid Saleh was Algeria’s strongest man following the resignation of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April after mass popular protests against his 20-year rule.

He has played a leading role in cruising the country towards safety after a turbulent transitional period in the wake of Bouteflika’s resignation.

Last week, former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected Algeria’s president after winning the first presidential poll in the post-Bouteflika era.

Anadolu Agency website contains

Read more: Algerian army chief dies of heart attack