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Zambian President Mwanawasa dies

LUSAKA, August 19 – Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa died in a Paris hospital after battling ill-health for years, including a second stroke in June, the country’s vice-president Rupiah Banda said Tuesday.

Banda told state television and radio that Mwanawasa died at 10:30 local time (0830 GMT) and that seven days of national mourning have been declared.

"Citizens should remain calm during this period," Banda said.

Mwanawasa had required urgent surgery Monday after a rapid deterioration in his health, Banda said at the time.

The 59-year-old suffered a stroke in Egypt on June 29, on the eve of an African Union summit. It was his second stroke in just over two years. He was airlifted to France after initially being treated in Cairo.

Health Minister Brian Chituwo told Zambia’s parliament earlier this month that Mwanawasa would likely remain in the intensive care unit at the Percy Military Hospital near Paris for some time.

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