Former President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana has died of COVID-19 complications at the age of 73, according to multiple reports from Ghanaian media.
The development comes less than a month after he buried his mother.
Rawlings was military leader in Ghana and later became a politician who ruled the country from 1981 to 2001.
The former President initially came to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force following a coup d’état in 1979.
He was until his death, the African Union envoy to Somalia.
A former Nigerian Presidential candidate and media mogul, Dele Momodu, who has close links to the Ghanaian Presidency, confirmed the development on Twitter.
“The saddest news of this year; My God. Former President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana has passed on. I’m completely devastated. Good night, an African hero.”
Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday mourned Rawlings.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said Africa would miss the deceased’s sterling qualities.
The statement titled, ‘President Buhari mourns Jerry Rawlings, says great loss to Africa” read, “President Muhammadu Buhari sends heartfelt condolences to government and people of Ghana over passing of the country’s former President, Jerry Rawlings, 73, affirming that the entire African continent will sorely miss the sterling qualities of the great leader.
“President Buhari believes the passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond.
“The President notes, with commendation, the unique role the former President played in strengthening political institutions in his country and Africa, stimulating the economy for sustainable growth, and vociferously championing the African cause by urging many leaders to work towards interdependency on the global stage, especially in areas of competitive advantage.”
Also, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday in his letter of condolence to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ado of Ghana, said Rawlings would be missed for his exemplary Obasanjo, in the letter released by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, said, “I found in him a reliable friend, ally and confidant. We worked together under the auspices of AU with constructive contributions at the various fora in our joint efforts at charting a new future for Africa, particularly in tackling the scourge of malaria in our continent, using the platform of the African Summit on Roll Back Malaria where his participation was quite active and the quality of his contributions enriched our deliberations and pointed the way forward in dealing with the disease.”