Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai died on Wednesday in South Africa after a long battle with cancer, the vice president of his Movement for Democratic Change party said.
“I can confirm that he died this evening. The family communicated this to me,” Elias Mudzuri told Reuters.
NAN reports that Tsvangirai, 65, was the MDC candidate in the controversial the 2002 presidential poll, losing to Mugabe.
He later contested the first round of the 2008 presidential election as the MDC-T candidate, taking 47.8 per cent of the vote according to official results, placing him ahead of Mugabe, who received 43.2 per cent.
Tsvangirai claimed to have won a majority and said that the results could have been altered in the month between the election and the reporting of official results.
Tsvangirai initially planned to run in the second round against Mugabe, but withdrew shortly before it was held, arguing that the election would not be free and fair due to widespread violence and intimidation by government supporters that led to the deaths of 200 people.
He sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a car crash on March 6, 2009 when heading towards his rural home in Buhera. His first wife, Susan, was killed in the head-on collision.
As the 2017 Zimbabwean coup d’etat occurred, Tsvangirai asked Mugabe to step down.
He also called for an all-stakeholders meeting to chart the country’s future and an internationally supervised process for the forthcoming elections.
He said an all-inclusive process to take the country to legitimacy was the only way forward.
On February 6, it was announced that Tsvangirai was critically ill in hospital in South Africa.
An MDC spokesperson said that “we should brace for the worst”.
He died eight days later.