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Regional News

Vanuatu president dies at age 67

PORT VILA (XINHUA/AAP/Pacnews) — Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale has passed away, the government confirmed over the weekend.

According to Vanuatu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Lonsdale died on Saturday, and a 10-day national state of mourning has been declared.

Baldwin Lonsdale

Lonsdale, 67, died in Port Vila.

Prior to his sudden death, Lonsdale was rushed to a local hospital after a suspected heart attack.

Lonsdale was elected and sworn in as Vanuatu’s president in 2014.

Under the country’s constitution, the parliament speaker is now the acting president, before a new head of state is elected.

Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove extended condolences to the president’s family, government and the people of Vanuatu following his death.

“Lynne and I recall fondly meeting His Excellency in July 2015 when we visited Vanuatu after the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam,” the governor-general said.

“He served the people of Vanuatu with dignity and humility, and was much loved.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Twitter she was saddened to hear of Lonsdale’s death.

“Condolences to his family, the government and people of Vanuatu,” she said.