Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Vietnamese President Quang Dies of Illness

Vietnamese President Quang Dies of Illness

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, 12 November 2017.

President Tran Dai Quang died at the age of 61 on Friday, Vietnamese state media reported, adding that he'd passed away after battling a "serious illness".

Quang hosted President Donald Trump during his first state visit to the communist country previous year.

Mr Quang had been withdrawing from public life over past months, raising speculation about his health.

Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by four "pillars": its president, prime minister, the chief of its Communist Party and the national assembly chair.

He passed away from a "serious illness despite devoted treatment by professors and doctors" both in Vietnam and overseas, the official Vietnam News Agency said.

"However, despite all the efforts of the leading domestic and foreign physicians, he failed to recover", Vietnam's healthcare division of central officials said in the report.

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Rumours of his illness had circulated on social media for months, and there was no significant reaction in Vietnam's benchmark index.VNI.

A career security officer, Quang was elected president in April 2016.

Born in northern Ninh Binh province, Quang attended a police college and rose through the ranks at the powerful Ministry of Public Security before being appointed minister in 2011.

His time in office was dominated by a simmering conflict with Beijing over the South China Sea, a long-running dispute between the communist neighbours that escalated on several occasions.

Some 97 activists have been jailed as of April this year, according to Amnesty International.

It is a bruised reputation that is likely to resonate among critics outside Vietnam, even as his legacy will be celebrated - albeit tightly controlled - at home.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

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