Tariq Aziz, who represented the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as foreign minister and deputy PM, has died in hospital after years in jail, officials say. He was 79 years old.
Aziz had been in custody since he surrendered to US forces in 2003, shortly after the fall of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during a US-led invasion. He died in hospital after years of ill health, an official said on Friday.
"Tariq Aziz died in Hussein Teaching Hospital in the city of Nasiriyah, where he was brought when his health condition worsened," Adel Abdulhussein al-Dakhili, deputy governor of Dhi Qar province, told the AFP news agency.
The cause of death was given as a heart attack.
Aziz had long suffered from heart and respiratory problems, high blood pressure and diabetes.
In 2010, the Iraqi Supreme Court sentenced Aziz to death for the "persecution of Islamic parties" under Saddam, but the sentence was never carried out.
He also received a number of other sentences for a range of crimes.
Aziz, a fluent speaker of English, not only served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister for many years, representing Saddam at several international summits, but was also a close adviser to the former leader.
At the time of his surrender in 2003, Aziz was number 43 on the US most-wanted list of Iraqi officials.
tj/kms (AFP, Reuters, AP)