Breaking News: Former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe is dead, aged 95

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Late Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe with an iron fist from 1980 to 2017, has died at the age of 95, the country’s president announced on Friday.

“It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President… Robert Mugabe,” Emmerson Mnangagwa said in a tweet.

Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe with an iron fist from 1980 to 2017, has died aged 95, the country’s president announced Friday.

First heralded as a liberator who rid the former British colony of Rhodesia of white minority rule, Mugabe used repression and fear to hold on to power in Zimbabwe until he was finally ousted by his previously loyal military generals. “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President… Robert Mugabe,” Emmerson Mnangagwa said in a tweet.

“Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten.”

Mugabe had been battling ill health, and his humiliating fall from office in November 2017, his stamina seeped away rapidly. He was hospitalized in Singapore for months for an undisclosed ailment, Mnangagwa had confirmed earlier this year.

No further details were immediately available about the circumstances of his death, or where he died.

The Mugabe years are widely remembered for his crushing of political dissent, and policies that ruined the economy.

The former political prisoner turned guerrilla leader swept to power in the 1980 elections after a growing insurgency and economic sanctions forced the Rhodesian government to the negotiating table.

In-office, he initially won international plaudits for his declared policy of racial reconciliation and for extending improved education and health services to the black majority.