Didier Ratsiraka, former president of Madagascar, died

Former President of Madagascar Didier Ratsiraka died Sunday, March 28, at the age of 85. This was announced by the current head of state, Andri Rajoelina, on March 28.

“Malagasy people have lost an outstanding patriot. I express my condolences,” he wrote on Twitter.

According to Jeune Afrique magazine, Ratsirak was taken to a military hospital in the capital Antananarivo on March 22 diagnosed with flu. The former president’s condition was of no concern to medics, but he became acutely ill on Sunday night.

The official cause of death has not yet been given.

Didier Ratsiraka was born on November 4, 1936. He became president of Madagascar twice, from 1976 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2002.

After his first accession to power, he established contacts with the USSR. In 1976, he founded the Malagasy Revolutionary Vanguard (AREMA) party.

In 2003, he was sentenced in absentia by a Malagasy court to ten years of hard labor for abuse of power and embezzlement. The year before, the ex-president had gone to France, whose authorities refused to extradite him. Ratsiraka returned to Madagascar in the fall of 2011 after an amnesty.