Ghana’s third president John Evans Fifii Atta Mills, Ph.D., died Tuesday afternoon in an Accra hospital after suffering from an unknown illness. According to Reuters, the president’s office sent a statement to the media confirming his passing.

“It is with a heavy heart … that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” the statement read.

Mills was sworn into office in January 2009 and previously served as the nation’s vice president under Jerry John Rawlings from 1997 to 2001.  

Reuters reports President Mills died just hours after taking ill, but no further details have been released. Last month, President Mills left Ghana for the U.S. to seek medical treatment for an unknown cause, but seemed to make a recovery.

President Mills, 68, leaves behind a wife, a son, and a host of mourners in his country.

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