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.   

His death came days after the election of former Prime Minister Abdulmadjid Tebboune as Algeria’s new president following the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika after mass protests against his 20-year rule.  

Gaid Saleh’s last appearance was during Tebboune’s inauguration on Thursday, when he was awarded the heights grade of national order of merit for his efforts during the country’s transitional period after Bouteflika’s resignation.  

A deputy defense minister, Gaid Saleh has played

Read more: PROFILE – Algeria's powerful army chief Ahmed Gaid Saleh