Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa was suffering from malaria and died of a heart attack, his family has said, scotching rumours that he succumbed to coronavirus.
"Mkapa was found with malaria and he was admitted for treatment since Wednesday," family member William Erio revealed during a funeral mass broadcast on state television TBC1 on Sunday.
Mkapa, who ruled the East African country for two terms from 1995 to 2005, died early on Friday aged 81 in a Dar es Salaam hospital but the government did not reveal the cause of the death.
"He was feeling better on Thursday and I was with him until 8pm that day," Erio said.
"After watching the evening news bulletin, he died of cardiac arrest," Erio added, saying he wished to dispel rumours spreading on social media that Mkapa had contracted the new coronavirus.
President John Magufuli attended the funeral mass along with his vice president and prime minister at the national stadium.
The opposition has accused Magufuli's government of a lack of transparency regarding its handling of a pandemic which the president said last Monday was no longer present in the country as he urged tourists to return.
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