State television reports Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in the early hours of Monday morning after allegedly contracting an infection. He was reportedly receiving medical treatment in Brussels at the time of his death. Zenawi had not been seen in public for weeks, leaving many to speculate about his condition and whereabouts. Authorities there insisted that he was in good health.
The 57-year old had been the country's leader for more than two decades. Zenawi came into power as president of the transitional government in 1991, after overthrowing the military junta. He served in that position until 1995, when he was appointed as prime minister.
As per Ethiopia's constitution, Deputy Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegne will act as interim head of state. The 47-year old currently also serves as the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs.