Ghanaian President, John Mills, died on Tuesday, few hours after announcing to Parliament that he was leaving for Nigeria.
The British Broadcasting Corporation reports that 68-year-old Mills, who had been suffering from throat cancer, died in the capital, Accra a few hours after being taken ill.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the President of the Republic of Ghana,” a statement from the Presidency said.
Chief of Staff John Newman, who addressed the nation on state-run GTV and TV3, said Mills died at the 37th Military Hospital in Accra. Newman gave no details about the cause of Mills’ death.
Information Minister Baffour also declined to elaborate. “Yes, I can confirm (his death), but I can’t say more,” he told The Associated Press.
The BBC reports that Mill’s voice had been degenerating in the last few months.
A presidential aide said the leader had complained of suffering pains on Monday evening. He had returned to Ghana after visiting the US for medical checks, Reuters reports.
The late President celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday on a low-key with orphans in Accra.
He was a former law professor and served as Ghana’s vice president to President Jerry Rawlings from 1997 to 2000. He ran for president unsuccessfully in 2000 and 2004 before winning the election in 2009.He was to run for a second term in December and Mills was to be the ruling party’s candidate.
He spent much of his career teaching at the University of Ghana. He earned a doctorate from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies before becoming a Fulbright scholar at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
Vice-President John Mahama was sworn in as President on Tuesday.
The Ghanaian election commission said December’s presidential and parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned.
“The election calendar remains unchanged – it’s purely a party matter,” election chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told Reuters, explaining that it was up to the ruling National Democratic Congress to find a candidate to replace Mills.
In March, US President Barack Obama received Mills in the Oval Office and praised him and his country as “a good-news story” in Africa.