Angola’s former president Dos Santos dies in Spain
The former president of Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and ex-leader of the ruling MPLA party, passed away in Spain on July, 8.
He was aged 79.
Dos Santos had mostly lived in Barcelona since stepping down in 2017 and he reportedly had been undergoing treatment there for health problems.
Angola’s current head of state, Joao Lourenco, announced five days of national mourning starting Friday, when the country’s flag flew at half-staff and public events were canceled.
The 79-year-old had been taken to the hospital and placed in intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest on June 23.
Historically, as one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, dos Santos came to power four years after Angola gained independence from Portugal and became enmeshed in the Cold War as a proxy battlefield. His rule was marked by a brutal civil war lasting nearly three decades against US-backed UNITA rebels and a subsequent oil-fueled boom.
However, Dos Santos was also said to the key person who brought an end in 2002 to a vicious civil war that had raged for 27 years, albeit the peace process was aided by the death of arch rival and Unita leader Jonas Savimbi.
His eldest daughter Isabel became, according to Forbes, Africa’s richest woman and youngest billionaire worth about $3 billion. Forbes has since dropped Isabel from its list of billionaires because of the asset freezes.
Isabel also became chairman of state oil company Sonangol, while son Jose Filomeno headed a $5 billion sovereign wealth fund.
Dos Santos, who was married four times, is survived by his current wife, Ana Paula, with whom he has three children and he is known to have at least three other children and several grandchildren.