Former Burundi president, Rtd Colonel Jean Baptist Bagaza has died in Belgium at the age of 70.
Bagaza passed away on Wednesday morning at the St. Elizabeth Brixelles hospital in Brussels, Belgian media reports.
Bagaza came to power in a coup in 1976 and ruled until he was deposed in 1987.
He was replaced in 1987 by Pierre Buyoya, and went into exile in Uganda. He later went to Libya where he lived until 1993.
A year after his government was toppled, thousands of Hutus were massacred and others fled the country.
Much of the country’s infrastructure and industry was built up during his term in office which is also considered as one of the most stable periods in the country’s post-independence history.
Since 1994, Bagaza led the Party for National Recovery (PARENA). He was a Senator for life as a former head of state.
Current President Pierre Nkurunziza tweeted his “condolences to his family and all Burundians” in French.