Robert Mugabe, a former teacher turned revolutionary who ruled over Zimbabwe for almost four decades, died on Friday at the age of 95.
Mugabe was convicted of political crimes in the 1960s, when he spent over a decade in prison, before becoming president of Zimbabwe in 1980 in what were the African country’s first free elections. He was accused of committing crimes against the white population in the country, whose land was redistributed to blacks oftentimes by violent means.
While under his rule, Zimbabwe suffered famine and economic hardship, but Mugabe was nonetheless re-elected seven times, prompting accusations of fraud.
He was still seen by many as a hero and two years ago, he announced he would run for office again. But due to worries that Mugabe might name his wife as his successor, members of his own party ousted him in a coup.
Mugabe lived the last two years of his life in his mansion in Zimbabwe’s capital, traveling abroad to seek medical treatment, ABC News reports.
The news of his death was announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his successor, who hailed Mugabe an “icon of liberation.”