ANTANANARIVO, 29 March 2021 – Former Malagasy President Admiral Didier Ignace Ratsiraka died Sunday in the capital, Antananarivo, at the age of 84.

“The Malagasy have lost an illustrious patriot,” read a tweet on the official Twitter handle of current president Andry Rajoelina.

Madagascar - Source AFP

The Great Island of Madagascar – Source AFP

Didier Ignace Ratsiraka - Photo Global Security

Didier Ignace Ratsiraka – Photo Global Security

He extended condolences to Ratsiraka’s “relatives, to the great family of the army and to all Malagasy citizens”.

The former president died Sunday at the military hospital in the capital, Antananarivo, officially from a heart attack.

Family and medical sources at the military hospital of Soavinandriana, a neighborhood of the capital, said Ratsiraka had come into the hospital last March 22 reportedly to be checked for a routine cold.

His medical condition quickly deteriorated leading to death in under a week.

Didier Ignace Ratsiraka - Photo The Telegraph

Didier Ignace Ratsiraka – Photo The Telegraph

A week of national mourning has been decreed with flags ordered to fly at half-mast until the evening of the day of his burial – yet to be announced.

Ratsiraka was president of the Indian Ocean Island from 1975 to 1993 and again from 1997 to 2002.

The president of the African Union Commission, Chadian-born Moussa Faki Mahamat was one of the first persons to extend his condolences to Malagasy, calling Ratsiraka “the illustrious deceased” in a tweet.

The Indian ambassador to Madagascar Abhay Kumar said the former president “will be fondly remembered”, praising him for “strengthening India-Madagascar relations”.

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