In a televised address on Thursday night, Tanzania vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan said that Magufuli had died of heart complications.
“It is with great regret that I inform you that today, 17 March 2021, at 18:00, we have lost our courageous leader, President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania,” said Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania Vice President. Hassan said that Magufuli was hospitalized on March 6 at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute.
This comes after weeks of speculation on his whereabouts with the suspicion that he had been hospitalized for Covid-19.
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has not been seen in public for 18 days and rumours have spread that he was ill.
The speculation had led to several arrests, as the government sought to contain the rumours.
On Tuesday, the opposition leader from the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT Wazalendo) issued a statement demanding Magufuli’s whereabouts.
The party also called for the release of all citizens who have been arrested for circulating rumours about the president’s health.
There has been speculation and rumours flying on social media that the 61-year-old president may have contracted coronavirus and been airlifted to a Kenyan hospital for treatment then flown to India a day later.
Tanzania’s main opposition leader Tundu Lissu, who is exiled in Belgium, said, citing sources that Magufuli was gravely ill from Covid-19, exacerbated by underlying health conditions.
On Tuesday he posted photos on his Twitter account of activity in Dar es Salaam.