Two of those African leaders, Guinea-Bissau’s Joao Bernardo Vieira and Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi, died under not so peaceful circumstances. But in 2012 alone, the presidents of Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, and Guinea-Bissau (a different president, Malam Bacai Sanhá) died in office of natural causes.
All had suffered from mysterious ailments and had denied rumors about their ill health prior to their deaths.
#11:. Levy Mwanawasa, 59
He was the president of Zambia till August 2008, when he died of a stroke.
#10:. Lansana Conte, 74
He was the president of Guinea till December 2008, when he died. His cause of death was not disclosed.
#9:. Joao Barnado Viera, 69
He was the president of Guinea Bissau till March 2009. He died in a bomb blast attack that was said to have been a retaliatory attack by soldiers.
#8:. Omar Bongo Ondimba, 73
He was the second president of Gabon and ruled till June 2009, when he died of a heart attack. He had ruled the country for 41 years by the time of his death.
#7:. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, 58
He was the president of Nigeria who died in office in May 2010. His death was reported to have been as a result of a long battle with kidney and heart problems.
#6:. Muammar Gaddafi, 69
He was the Prime Minister of Libya till October 2011. He took power though a coup and ruled for 42 years when he was ousted but legally was still the prime minister until his death.
#5:. Malam Bacai Sanha, 64
He was the president of Guinea Bissau. He died while still in office in January 2012 at a French hospital.
#4:. Bingu wa Mutharika, 78
He was the president of Malawi till April 2012, when he died of a cardiac arrest. His death was left unannounced for days over fears that there would be a power struggle. He was succeeded by the first African female president Joyce Banda.
#3:. John Atta Mills, 68
He was the president of Ghana till July 2012, when he died. The cause of his death was said to have been throat cancer.
#2:. Meles Zenawi, 57
He was the prime minister of Ethiopia until his death. The government said he was taken ill suddenly and died in Belgium while undergoing treatment. His health status had been an issue before his sudden death as he missed a July 2012 summit in Addis Ababa.
#1:. Michael Sata, 77
He is the latest African president to die in office. He was the president of Zambia till October 2014, when he died of throat complications.