Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang, a former police chief known as a tough politician and committed communist with little tolerance for dissent, died Friday at age 61 after a serious illness, state media reported.
His death is not likely to dramatically alter politics in a country where the powerful communist government oversees almost every facet of society — although the death of a sitting leader is rare.
Coverage on state media was sombre Friday, with a Vietnam Television anchor in dark clothing announcing the news of the leader’s death, first reported by the official Vietnam News Agency.
A member of Quang’s staff confirmed his death to AFP.
The president had sought treatment in Japan for over a year before he was checked into hospital on Thursday afternoon after contracting a “rare virus”, Nguyen Quoc Trieu, in charge of the healthcare committee for top leaders, said in state media.
In office as president since April 2016 after more than four decades at the powerful Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Quang had a reputation as a hardliner. Read more