Ghana president John Atta Mills (68) dies


ACCRA – Ghana’s president John Atta Mills, who won international praise as leader of a stable model democracy in Africa, died suddenly yesterday and will be succeeded by his vice-president.

Mr Mills was 68. His unexpected death comes months before he was due to stand for re-election in December.

Ghana, a major gold producer, which also started pumping oil in 2010, is also often praised for its healthy democracy.

The president’s office said that Mr Mills, who celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday, died a few hours after being taken ill, but no further details were given.

A presidential aide said the president had complained of pains on Monday evening and died early yesterday afternoon when his condition worsened.

Trained as a lawyer and taxation expert, Mr Mills had overseen Ghana’s emergence as one of Africa’s newest oil producers two years ago, winning plaudits both at home and abroad for his sound economic policies and commitment to democracy and good governance.

In March, US president Barack Obama received the Ghanaian president in the Oval Office and praised him and his country as “a good-news story” in Africa.

Previous rumours about Mr Mills’s possible ill-health had surfaced in the last few weeks and he travelled last month to the United States for medical treatment.

– (Reuters)