- Zimbabwe's veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has died
- Tsvangirai for years was the most potent challenger to longtime ruler Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has dies aged 65, the vice president of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has said.
Mr Tsvangirai, a former prime minister, had reportedly been suffering from colon cancer.
“He died this evening. The family communicated this to me,” MDC vice president Elias Mudzuri told Reuters.
Arguably Zimbabwe's most popular politician, the mining union leader's career was ultimately defined by his tussles - bother literal and figurative - with 93-year-old former President Robert Mugabe, who resigned after a de facto coup in December.
Elections are due within the next six months and Mr Tsvangirai's illness and now death leaves his party in disarray, to the advantage of the ruling ZANU-PF party, now led by former Mugabe deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Although Mr Tsvangirai suffered serious physical abuse at the hands of security forces, including serious head injuries in police custody in 2007, he went on to form an uneasy working relationship with Mr Mugabe in a 2009 to 2013 coalition government where he was installed as prime minister.
Born March 10, 1952 in the rural Buhera area southeast of the capital, Harare, Tsvangirai was the oldest of nine children. After graduation from secondary school he worked at the Bindura Nickel Mine for 10 years, eventually becoming plant supervisor. It was during the years of the nationalist war against white minority-ruled Rhodesia. Tsvangirai later said he did not join the guerrilla fighters because his salary supported the education of his younger siblings.
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