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Robert Mugabe, former president of Zimbabwe, dies aged 95

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Robert Mugabe, former president of Zimbabwe, dies aged 95
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Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's first post-independence leader, has died aged 95 in Singapore .

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa confirmed the news in a tweet.

"It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe," he wrote.

Adding: "Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace."

Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017.

REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo
Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera.REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

During his time in office, the country went from independence to recession, then economic collapse.

A controversial figure, he was hailed by his supporters as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped to free Zimbabwe from British colonialism.

Conversely, he has been accused of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, anti-white racism, human rights abuses, and crimes against humanity.

When the economy started to implode in 2000 and Mugabe's mental and physical health waned, he found fewer people to trust, appearing to pave the way for his wife, Grace, four decades his junior, to replace him.

REUTERS/Howard Burditt/File Photo
Mugabe kisses his wife Grace at his 80th birthday party.REUTERS/Howard Burditt/File Photo

When he was ultimately ousted by his own armed forces in November 2017, he demonstrated his tenacity, and some might say stubbornness, to the last, refusing to accept his expulsion from his own ZANU-PF party and clinging on for a week until parliament started to impeach him.

His resignation triggered wild celebrations across the country of 13 million.

Confined for the remaining years of his life between Singapore, where he was receiving medical treatment, and his sprawling "Blue Roof" mansion in Harare, Mugabe was forced to watch the political scene in Zimbabwe from the sidelines.