Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, a man described by many as an icon and one of the most important advocates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, died in a hospital in Brussels after a long battle with pulmonary embolism.
He founded the Union for Democracy and Social Progress in 1984 , and has been at the forefront of opposition politics for more than three decades.
He also served as a minister under the late Mobutu Sese Seko’s regime and on a number of occasions as prime minister in the 90s. He however did not remain in the position after clashing with the autocratic leader, who was eventually forced out in 1997.
Tshisekedi was the main opponent of former president Laurent Kabila, who took power in 1997, and his son, President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the country since 2001.
His death comes at a politically fragile moment for Congo, where he was heavily involved in a deal to get President Kabila to agree to step down before the end of this year and refrain from running for a third term as president.
As part of the negotiations, the opposition heavyweight was set to take the top post in the transitional council until the next elections are organised.
He was 84 at the time of his death.