Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov has died in hospital.
Diplomatic sources have revealed his death today after rumours that he had passed away had been circulating for days.His daughter Lola said earlier this week the 78-year-old had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
Uzbekistan on Thursday celebrated its Independence Day and it was widely assumed that if the government was to make an announcement on his condition, they would not break the news until after the festivities.Reinforcing the impression that a change of leadership is imminent, the president of the country’s neighbour Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, planned to travel to Uzbekistan on Saturday, according to a Kazakh government source.
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He hadn’t been seen in public since mid-August, and his government last weekend admitted he was ill. He has two daughters, Gulnara, 44, and Lola, 38, but Gulnara has not been seen in public since she fell out with her father in 2014.
Karimov has ruled Uzbekistan, a major cotton exporter also rich in gold and natural gas, in an authoritarian style since 1989, first as a Communist leader, and then as president from 1991.
He has no obvious successor and analysts say the transition of power is likely to be decided by a small group of senior officials and family members.