Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Sulhu Hassan has announced the death of President John Magufuli.
The announcement was made on Wednesday on state television.
She said that Mr Magufuli died on Wednesday at 6pm from heart complication, at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Tuesday marked 17 days since the 61-year-old has been seen in public, and despite a clamour of rumours of ill-health, the Tanzanian authorities had remained silent as to his whereabouts.
Magufuli last appeared in public on February 27, and the fervent Catholic has missed three Sunday services, where he would often address the congregation.
Magufuli had for months insisted the virus no longer existed in Tanzania, and had been fended off by prayer. He refused to wear a face-mask or take lockdown measures.
The country stopped releasing case data in April 2020.
But a week before he was last seen, Magufuli conceded the virus was still circulating, after the vice-president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died of Covid-19.
Last Tuesday, main opposition leader Tundu Lissu, exiled in Belgium, and others began questioning Magufuli’s absence, citing sources that he was gravely ill from Covid-19, exacerbated by underlying health conditions.
Samia Suluhu Hassan will be sworn in as Tanzania President and will lead for the remainder of Magufuli’s term until 2025. He had just been re-elected in November last year.
She becomes the first female President in Tanzania and East Africa.