Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai died today following his critical condition in the South African hospital, a senior party official told local media today.
According to the local media, Tsvangirai had gone to South Africa for a routine medical check-ups, but he developed low blood pressure during the medication and subsequently passed away on Wednesday.
“Sadly I can confirm our leader is gone, his legacy still lives with us” a senior official from Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told the local media, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesman, earlier disputed what he termed “morbid media reports that he was critical and is battling for his life”, insisting he had gone to South Africa for a routine medical procedure and “is in a very stable condition.”
Tsvangirai, 65, announced last year he had been diagnosed with cancer of the colon and had begun chemotherapy.
News Day independent daily earlier reported Tsvangirai was airlifted to South Africa last night after he fell ill again, just ten days after his last trip. “He was on oxygen and drip and had been vomiting heavily,” the paper said.
Morgan Richard Tsvangirai was a Zimbabwean politician who was Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2013. He was President of the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and a key figure in the opposition to President Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai was the MDC candidate in the controversial 2002 presidential election, losing to Mugabe. He later contested the first round of the 2008 presidential election as the MDC-T candidate, taking 47.8% of the vote according to official results, placing him ahead of Mugabe, who received 43.2%. Tsvangirai claimed to have won a majority and said that the results could have been altered in the month between the election and the reporting of official results.
Tsvangirai initially planned to run in the second round against Mugabe, but withdrew shortly before it was held, arguing that the election would not be free and fair due to widespread violence and intimidation by government supporters that led to the deaths of 200 people.
He sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a car crash on 6 March 2009 when heading towards his rural home in Buhera. His first wife, Susan Tsvangirai, was killed in the head-on collision.
During a visit to South Korea in May 2010, Tsvangirai was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by Pai Chai University, becoming the 13th recipient of an honorary degree in the 125-year history of this United Methodist Church institution.
He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Macheka and six children.