Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, has died after suffering a stroke at the age of 78, three diplomatic sources told a foreign media agency on Friday.
“Yes, he has died,” one of the sources said, referring to the veteran leader who has been in the hospital since last Saturday.
Earlier, he was reported to be in critical condition with his health worsening “sharply” days after he suffered a stroke.
“Dear compatriots, it is with a very heavy heart that we inform you that yesterday the condition of our president deteriorated sharply and, according to doctors, it is evaluated as critical,” the statement posted on a government website said.
Karimov, 78, dominated the ex-Soviet nation for over 25 years. The veteran leader’s youngest daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva on Monday announced on social media that he was in ‘stable’ condition in intensive care after a cerebral haemorrhage, before hinting two days later that he was making a recovery.
Opposition outlet Fergana news agency had reported on Thursday that work was going on in preparation for Karimov’s funeral in his hometown of Samarkand, with part of the city centre cordoned off and the streets being cleaned.
Despite persistent claims over his health in recent years, Karimov had not left any clear successor.