JOHANNESBURG - The Zambian government has confirmed that President Michael Sata has died after an illness.
Roland Msiska, secretary to the Zambian Cabinet, said in a statement Wednesday that Sata died late Tuesday in London, where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness.
Msiska says Sata's wife, Christine Kaseba, and other family members were with the 77-year-old president when he died.
Zambia President Michael Sata dies
This is how his daughter Stella responded to the news on social media:
Private Muzi television station and the Zambia Reports and Zambian Watchdog websites said the southern African nation's cabinet was about to meet.
Michael Chilufya Sata was born in 1937 in Mpika, in the Northern Province of Zambia.
He came to power in September 2011 and became Zambia’s fifth President after the country gained independence in 1964.
Before independence he was a police officer, railway man and trade unionist.
Under the leadership of Zambia’s first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, Sata became the governor of the capital city, Lusaka.
During the campaign for the return to multi-party elections in 1991, he left the ruling Party UNIP to join the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy MMD under the leadership of Frederick Chiluba.
When the MMD won the 1991 elections, he served in the ministries of local government, labour and health.
He was later appointed minister without portfolio.
In 2001, Sata left the MMD when the then President Chiluba opted to appoint Levy Mwanawasa as the Party’s flag-bearer as opposed to himself.
He then formed the Patriotic Front, which contested and lost elections in 2001, 2006 and in 2008.
Sata then ran for the Presidency for a fourth time in September 2011 and won forty three percent of the vote.
Throughout his political he was viewed as a controversial politician.
This is how Zambians responded to the news on social media:
The video below shows a history of Zambia's presidents: