Other Notable Deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

December 24, 2008

LANSANA CONTE

President of Guinea

Guinea President Lansana Conte, who had ruled the African nation with an iron hand since seizing power in a coup nearly a quarter-century ago, died after a lengthy illness, the president of the National Assembly said yesterday.

Aboubacar Sompare, flanked by the country's prime minister and the head of the army, said on state-run television that Mr. Conte died Monday evening. He was believed to be in his 70s, but the government has not disclosed his birth date. Mr. Sompare did not provide a specific cause of death or elaborate on the type of illness Mr. Conte suffered.

Mr. Conte was one of the last members of a dwindling group of so-called "African Big Men" who came to power by the gun and resisted the movement toward democratic rule. He seized power in a military coup after the 1984 death of Ahmed Sekou Toure, Guinea's first president after gaining independence from France in 1958.

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