Mwanawasa dies after suffering second stroke

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has died, the country's high commissioner to South Africa said yesterday.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has died, the country's high commissioner to South Africa said yesterday.

"We are still in shock, we have not yet made the arrangements [to bring the body home]," said Leslie Mbula, who was to fly to France later yesterday.

He said Mwanawasa, 59, died at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris at about 10.15am yesterday.

Mwanawasa suffered a second stroke on Monday.

He leaves behind his wife Maureen and six children.

The Zambian cabinet had been summoned yesterday to "an urgent meeting", said a cabinet minister who did not want to be named.

Mwanawasa, hospitalised in France after suffering a stroke in June, had required urgent surgery on Monday after a rapid deterioration in his health, Vice President Rupiah Banda said.

"The team of doctors have reported that the intervention was successful but described the condition of His Excellency the President as serious," Banda said, citing a sudden downturn in Mwanawasa's health on Sunday.

Mwanawasa suffered a stroke in Egypt on June 29, on the eve of an African Union summit.

It was his second stroke in just over two years.

He was airlifted to France after initially being treated in Cairo.

Health Minister Brian Chituwo told Zambia's parliament earlier this month that Mwanawasa would likely remain in the intensive care unit at the hospital near Paris for some time.

"Let us clearly remember that by the serious nature of our Republican president's illness, the healing process will indeed be long," Chituwo told MPs. - Sapa-AFP

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