Bloomberg News

Former Zambian President Chiluba Dies of Heart Attack at 68

June 18, 2011

(Updates with biographical information from third paragraph.)

June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, the first democratically elected leader of his country, has died of a heart attack in his Lusaka home. He was 68.

“Ten minutes before midnight he had a heart attack and was declared dead by the doctor at 0:05 a.m.,” Emmanuel Mwamba, his spokesman, said in an interview today. President Rupiah Banda will preside over a state funeral for Chiluba, Mwamba said.

In 1991, Chiluba replaced Kenneth Kaunda, who had been president since the country won independence from Britain in 1964. Chiluba was succeeded by his deputy, Levy Mwanawasa, in 2002 after trying to amend the constitution to run for a third term.

Chiluba faced corruption charges after leaving office and in 2007 he was found guilty by a U.K. court of stealing $46 million. In 2009, a Zambian court dropped more than 60 charges of theft against Chiluba, amounting to more than $40 million, because it didn’t have sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

“Economic liberalization is what he will be remembered for most,” said Richard Sakala, Chiluba’s press aide for 10 years. “The boom in the mining sector would have not been possible without him as he passed laws to sell the mines,” Sakala said in an interview today.

--Editors: Kim McLaughlin

To contact the reporter on this story: Lauren van der Westhuizen at lvanderwesth@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.


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