24 July 2012, Sweetcrude, ACCRA – Ghana’s President John Evans Atta Mills, 68, is dead, a statement sent from the president’s office on Tuesday has said.
e passed away at the 37th Military Hospital in Accra, according to the government’s statement signed by John Henry Martey of the Ghanaian Ministry of Information.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the republic of Ghana,” the statement said,
It said that Mills died a few hours after being taken ill but no further details were given.
According to the constitution, Vice President John Dramani Mahama is to take over as interim leader. Presidential elections are set for December in a country seen as a rare example of stable democracy in West Africa.
The late president had recently traveled to the United States for what had been described as a routine medical checkup.
Mills took over as Ghana’s president in January 2009. He narrowly won the vote in 2008 by a less than one percent margin against a candidate from the party of the incumbent John Kufuor, widely respected for having bowed out following his two terms in office.
In July last year, Mills was nominated to be the ruling National Democratic Congress party’s presidential candidate for December 2012 elections. The primary represented the first time in the country’s history that a sitting president competed for his own party’s nomination.
Mills beat his only rival in the party primary, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, the wife of ex-military leader Jerry Rawlings.
Ghana recently joined the ranks of the world’s large-scale oil producers.