Vietnam's current president, Tran Dai Quang, has passed away following a "serious illness," state media reported. Quang rose through the ranks in Vietnam's security agency before becoming president in 2016.
President Tran Dai Quang died at the age of 61 on Friday, Vietnamese state media reported, adding that he'd passed away after battling a "serious illness."
"President Tran Dai died at 10:05 am on the 21st of September at the military hospital," the official Vietnam News Agency said.
Quang had passed away "despite efforts by domestic and international doctors and professors," Vietnam Television reported. The reports did not provide further information about Quang's illness.
He did not appear in public for more than a month last year, raising questions about his health. His last public appearance was at a Politburo meeting and a reception for a Chinese delegation on Wednesday.
From top security officer to president
Born in 1956, Quang's career began in Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security, an agency heavily inspired by the Soviet Union's KGB, where he rose through the ranks in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 2011, he was appointed Minister of Public Security, serving as Vietnam's de-facto top law enforcement officer.
Quang became Vietnam's president following the 2016 Community Party Congress. He hosted US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at an APEC meeting in November last year.
He had a reputation as a tough leader who was influential within the inner circles of the country's communist party.
Vietnam is officially led by the president, prime minister and Communist party chief. Experts say that the president largely has a ceremonial role.
rs/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)