Gabonese president Omar Bongo dies at age 73

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Omar Bongo in 2004

Omar Bongo, the president of the western African country of Gabon, has died at a clinic in Barcelona, Spain, according to the Gabonese prime minister.

Jean Eyeghe Ndong said that Bongo, the longest-serving leader of an African country, had died at the Quiron clinic on Monday, at the age of 73.

"At 2:30 pm, the medical team informed me, as well as the officials and members of the family present, that the president of the republic, head of state Omar Bongo Ondimba had just passed away following a heart attack," Ndong said, adding that the president had been admitted to the clinic early in May.

"I noted at that time that the head of state whom I visited in the intensive care unit was alive and well.But we knew that the health of the president had become a source of concern in recent days," he said.

According to Gabon's constitution, the president of the senate is to become the interim ruler should the president die while in office. The senate's president is Rose Francine Rogombe from the Gabonese Democratic Party. The constitution says new elections should take place within 45 days.


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