Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings died Thursday at the age of 73, authorities said.

”It is with great sadness that I announce to the nation that the 1st President of the 4th Republic, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, has joined his ancestors,” Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a statement.

 Rawlings died at 10.10 a.m. [1000 GMT], at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, where the former president was receiving treatment after a short illness, according to Akufo-Addo.

”I convey the deep sympathies of Government and the people of Ghana to his wife, the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the children, and family of the late President, in these difficult times,” he added.

Akufo-Addo said all national flags should fly at half-mast for the next seven days and declared seven days of national mourning from Nov. 13 until Nov. 20. 

Rawling spent nearly a week at a hospital in the capital, Accra.

The former president fell sick after the burial of his mother roughly three weeks ago.

He led a military junta from 1981 to 1992 after coming to power through a coup.

In 1992, Rawlings resigned from the military and established the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He was democratically elected that year and then in 1996 for a second term.

He greatly contributed in Ghana’s political stability and competent economic management.

Great leader

”It is with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of former president Jerry Rawlings of Ghana. Africa has lost a stalwart of Pan-Africanism and a charismatic continental statesman. My sincere condolences to his family, the people and the government of #Ghana,” Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union Commission tweeted.

”Ghana, Liberia and Africa will miss a great leader,” George Weah, Liberian president said in a tweet. 

He said Liberia remembers Rawlings’ ”immense contribution to the attainment and sustainment of peace during our dark days of our own history.”

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