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The Queen and Prince Philip left 'saddened' following death of world leader due to COVID

Tanzania's president John Magufuli has died at the age of 61

Sharnaz Shahid

The Queen has paid a heartfelt tribute to Tanzania's president John Magufuli following the news of his sudden death.

Writing on behalf of herself and Prince Philip, the monarch released a statement, which read: "Prince Philip and I were saddened to learn of the death of President John Magufuli. I wish to convey my condolences to his loved ones and my deepest sympathy to the people of Tanzania."

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It was confirmed that the President died at the age of 61 following complications during surgery on Wednesday. He had been out of the public eye since 27 February, prompting speculation that he was critically ill with COVID-19.

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In a television broadcast, Vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan said: "It is with deep regret that I inform you that today... we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli."

She said there would be 14 days of national mourning and flags would fly at half-mast. Samia has since taken his place as the country's head of state. She has become Africa's only current female national leader.

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The Queen and Prince Philip have paid their respects

The news comes shortly after Prince Philip returned to Windsor Castle after spending 28 nights in hospital - his longest ever hospital stay.

The Duke was first admitted to King Edward VII's hospital on 16 February for an infection, before undergoing heart surgery for a pre-existing condition at St Bartholomew's hospital. A few days later he was transferred back to King Edward's to recuperate and to continue his treatment.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "The Duke of Edinburgh has today been discharged from King Edward VII's Hospital and has returned to Windsor Castle, following treatment for an infection and a successful procedure for a pre-existing condition.

"His Royal Highness wishes to thank all the medical staff who looked after him at both King Edward VII's Hospital and St Bartholomew's Hospital, and everyone who has sent their good wishes."

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