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President of Ghana, John Atta Mills (Courtesy of Key Newsjournal)
Ghanaian President John Atta Mills died suddenly last week Tuesday (7/24) shortly after becoming ill, according to a statement by his office.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the President of the Republic of Ghana,” the statement said. No details of his illness were given. Mills was 68.
Mills, who died in a hospital in the capital Accra, had undergone health checks in the U.S. in recent weeks, returning late last month. According to reports from Ghana, he complained of pains Monday and died Tuesday.
Mills was set to run for a second term as president in elections due in December. Under Ghana’s constitution, vice president John Dramani Mahama is to take over as interim leader.
Ghana is seen as a beacon of democracy in West Africa. President Obama visited Ghana in 2009, six months after Mills took office in peaceful elections.
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights made the following statement after the death of Ghanian President John Atta Mills.
“I’d like to offer my condolences to the Ghanaian people as well as the family, friends and countless loved ones of President Atta Mills. In his first term, President Atta Mills began to usher in an era of change for the country, and there is no doubt that he would have continued his efforts and maintained Ghana’s longstanding history of democracy and peace. During my first trip to the continent, I visited Ghana and was immediately in awe of the grace of the people and beauty of the country. While I did not personally know President Atta Mills, I am sure that his spirit encompassed both of these inspiring qualities.
“During the transition of leadership, I offer my support to former Vice President Mahama and encourage the citizens of Ghana to stand with each other in this time of sadness.”