HARARE: Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe died from cancer after chemotherapy treatment was stopped because it was no longer effective, a state-owned newspaper quoted President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying, the first time the government has given the cause of his death.
Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe to independence and crushed his foes during nearly four decades of rule that impoverished his country, died on Sep 6 at the age of 95 in Singapore.
Mnangagwa told ruling party supporters in New York where he is attending this week's United Nations General Assembly that Mugabe had cancer, but he did not disclose the type.
"Treatment had stopped, doctors had stopped treatment, chemotherapy, one, because of age and also because the cancer had spread and it was not helping anymore," Mnangagwa said in comments carried by The Herald newspaper on Monday (Sep 23).
Mugabe had been receiving treatment at a Singapore hospital for several months.
He was no longer able to walk when he was admitted, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa had said previously, although he did not specify what treatment the former leader was undergoing.
In 2011, WikiLeaks released US diplomatic cable that said Mugabe had prostate cancer that had spread to other organs, which government officials denied. Officials often said he was being treated for a cataract.
During his time in power, and before he was forced to resign after a coup in November 2017, Mugabe frequently travelled to Singapore to seek treatment.
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Following his death, a dispute arose between Mugabe’s family, who wanted to bury him at his hometown of Zvimba, and the government, which pushed for a burial at a national monument in the capital Harare.
It was eventually agreed that he would be buried at the National Heroes Acre monument, as soon as a mausoleum was built for him. In the meantime, his body is being kept at his Blue Roof residence in Harare.